ITV News Index

METHODOLOGY NOTE: ComRes interviewed 2,044 British adults online between 23rd and 26th August 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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Date Published
28 Aug 2013

Further Description

Two fifths (40%) of the British public oppose the use of British ground troops in Syria if it emerges that the Syrian Government has used chemical weapons on its people. One third (30%) of the public support the use of troops in such an event.


Nearly half (45%) of Britons agree that it is the responsibility of world leaders to help civilians under attack from the Assad regime - up 6 points since June, with the proportion disagreeing down 8 points since June  

However, the public are evenly split about the general principle of military intervention. 35% agree and 35% disagree that foreign governments should not intervene in Syria.

The apparent lack of an easy outcome may be one reason why opinions are divided about a military operation: three in five (62%) say they do not know if the overthrow of the Assad regime and replacing it with a rebel government would be a good thing for Syria.

With the recent trial of Bradley Manning and detention of David Miranda, half of British adults (52%) think that individuals are sometimes justified when releasing confidential government information, but one quarter (25%) say individuals are never justified doing so. Just 5% believe the publishing of confidential government information is always justified.

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Findings in detail:


The public appears to be generally split about what action to take regarding Syria.

·         Slightly more people oppose than support the use of British ground troops in Syria if it emerges that the Syrian Government has used chemicial weapons on its people.

o    Opposition to British military involvement is higher amongst older people than younger generations. More than three in five (62%) people over 65 saying they disagree with the use of British ground troops in the event that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people, compared to only 18% of 18-24 year olds and 25% of 25-34 year olds.

·         However, public opinion is much less supportive of Britain acting unilaterally, with more than half (55%) saying Britain should not “go it alone”, compared to only 15% who say Britain should “go it alone”.

·         The public is evenly split (35% vs 35%) about whether foreign governments should intervene at all.

·         However, the majority of people do not know if the overthrow of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and replacement with a rebel government would be a good thing for either Syrian (62%) or British interests (67%).

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