The past is, of course, an imperfect guide, as voters and parties change and each election is, to some extent, unique. However, this does not mean past polling tells us nothing. On the contrary, as we have shown in previous research (non-gated version here), careful analysis of past polling reveals common underlying trends and patterns in British public opinion.
Parliament has just voted not to join in a war. MPs were recalled from their summer break to vote on whether the UK should join in US-led strikes on Syria if such strikes go ahead. There has been chemical warfare in Damascus. An attack on 21st August has killed around 350 people, including women and children. That has been widely reported, and the evidence for it seems good.
The street protests going on in Egypt this month have been claimed as the biggest ever – even ‘the biggest uprising in history’ according to the BBC. Reuters has described the number of pro-Morsi supporters on the streets in Cairo alone as in the ‘tens of thousands’ with more in other cities; Wikipedia says ‘millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets’ before Morsi was overthrown. Millions? Really?
A recent New York Times article stated that U.S. officials believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels in that country. This conclusion is based on the “testing of soil samples and blood drawn from people who had been wounded”. The agent found, according to U.S. officials, is sarin gas. This is the same agent that was used in a deadly Tokyo subway attack back in 1995.
The death of Lady Thatcher was reported today. Better known as Margaret Thatcher, she was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990. A controversial figure, her life and career will doubtless be reported at greater length in many other outlets. But on this site we should record one important fact about her: She had a degree in Chemistry, from Oxford. She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. She was also our first, and so far only, Prime Minister whose initial training was in science.