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The Falklands War - Falklands Panel

Note: the Falklands War lasted from 2 April 1982, when the Argentine Navy with thousands of troops landed on the Falklands, until 14 June 1982 when the large Argentine garrison in Port Stanley was defeated, effectively ending the conflict.

Key trends from more than one survey

(Note that trends for questions which occurred only on one or more waves of the panel survey, but not in any other survey, are given in full in the panel section)

Q How would you vote if there were a general election tomorrow?
Q (If Undecided / Refused) Which party are you most inclined to support?

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 198216 May 198225-26 May 198221-23 June 1982
 %%%%%%%
Conservative33363938485151
Labour34303232332524
Liberal / SDP Alliance (combined)30312728172323
Other3322221
 
Excludes:
Would not vote644n/a4n/a3
Undecided456n/a6n/a5
Refused55n/an/a2n/a*

Q Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government are now handling the situation in the Falkland Islands?*

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 198230 Apr 19823-5 May 198216 May 198225-26 May 198221-23 June 1982
 %%%%%%%%
Satisfied6068767071698484
Dissatisfied3024202325251413
Don't know108474623

* "… the way the Government handled…" on 21-23 June

Q Do you think in their handling of the situation in the Falklands the government has been too willing to use military force, not willing enough or has it been about right?

 30 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 1982
 %%%
Too willing182516
Not willing enough16712
About right626470
Don't know442

Falklands Panel: Technical details

Panel 1 (Baseline Survey): MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,018 adults aged 18+ on 14 April 1982. Interviews were conducted face-to-face at 53 constituency sampling points across Great Britain. Data were weighted to match the profile of the population. The survey was conducted for The Economist. (This was just under a fortnight after the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands on 2 April, and during General Haig's attempts to mediate a peaceful solution.)

Panel 2: MORI re-interviewed 463 of the original 1,018 respondents from the baseline survey on 20-21 April 1982. Interviews were conducted by telephone. Data were weighted to match the profile of the original sample. The survey was conducted for The Economist.

Panel 3: MORI re-interviewed 447 of the original 1,018 respondents from the baseline survey on 23-24 April 1982. Interviews were conducted by telephone. Data were weighted to match the profile of the original sample. The survey was conducted for BBC Panorama.

Panel 4: MORI re-interviewed 526 of the original 1,018 respondents from the baseline survey on 3-5 May 1982. Interviews were conducted by telephone (413) and face-to-face (113). Data were weighted to match the profile of the original sample. The survey was conducted for The Economist. (This was after the sinking of the General Belgrano; most interviews were conducted before the sinking of HMS Sheffield.)

Panel 5: MORI re-interviewed 400 of the original 1,018 respondents from the baseline survey on 25-26 May 1982. Interviews were conducted by telephone. Data were weighted to match the profile of the original sample. The survey was conducted for The Economist.

Panel 6: MORI re-interviewed 401 of the original 1,018 respondents from the baseline survey on 21-23 June 1982. Interviews were conducted by telephone (319) and face-to-face (82). Data were weighted to match the profile of the original sample. The survey was conducted for The Economist. (This was a week after Argentina's surrender.)

Q Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government is running the country?

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Satisfied34
Dissatisfied58
Don't know8

Q Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Mrs Thatcher is doing her job as Prime Minister?

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Satisfied40
Dissatisfied54
Don't know6

Q How would you vote if there were a general election tomorrow?
Q (If Undecided / Refused) Which party are you most inclined to support?

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 198221-23 June 1982
 %%%%%%
Conservative333639385151
Labour343032322524
Liberal / SDP Alliance (combined)303127282323
Other332221
 
Excludes:
Would not vote644n/an/a3
Undecided456n/an/a5
Refused55n/an/an/a*

Q What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today?

 14 Apr 19823-5 May 1982
 %%
Falklands situation3961
Unemployment3925
Prices / inflation83
Defence / Foreign Affairs2 
Law & order / riots2 
Trade unions / strikes2 

(Others below 1% omitted)

Q Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government are now handling the situation in the Falkland Islands?*

 %%%%%%
Satisfied606876718484
Dissatisfied302420251413
Don't know1084423

* "… the way the Government handled…" on 21-23 June

Q Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Labour Party is responding to the Government's handling of the situation in the Falkland Islands?*

 14 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 198221-23 June 1982
 %%%%
Satisfied40263734
Dissatisfied39625356
Don't know21121010

* "… the way the Labour Party responded…" on 21-23 June

Q Do you think the Government should call a General Election now or not?

 14 Apr 19823-5 May 198221-23 June 1982
 %%%
Yes291616
No687880
Don't know364

Q Do you think Mrs Thatcher should resign as Prime Minister over the situation in the Falkland Islands or not?

 14 Apr 198223-24 Apr 1982
 %%
Yes3427
No6267
Don't know46

Q Do you think the Defence Secretary, John Nott, should resign?

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes43
No44
Don't know13

Q Do you think Lord Carrington should have resigned as Foreign Secretary?

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes48
No45
Don't know7

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Sever diplomatic relations with Argentina

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes71
No22
Don't know7

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Ban Argentinian imports into Great Britain

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes84
No12
Don't know3

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Freeze Argentinian assets in British banks

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes82
No11
Don't know7

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Intern Argentinian citizens residing in Great Britain

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes24
No68
Don't know8

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Sent the naval task force to the Falkland Islands

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 19823-5 May 1982
 %%%
Yes838585
No131010
Don't know355

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Imposed the 200-mile naval blockade of the Falklands

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes80
No14
Don't know6

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Allow the UN to take over administration of the Falkland Islands

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 1982
 %%%%
Yes45424049
No42465041
Don't know13121010

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Evacuated all British subjects from the Falklands

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes49
No41
Don't know10

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Sink Argentinian ships in Falkland waters

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 198225-26 May 1982
 %%%%
Yes52555879
No39353518
Don't know91163

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Land troops on the Falklands

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 1982
 %%%%%
Yes6765657289
No2425262210
Don't know910961

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Bomb Argentinian military and naval bases

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 1982
 %%%%
Yes28343338
No63575857
Don't know9995

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Use nuclear weapons against Argentina

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes5
No93
Don't know2

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Land troops/invade the Argentinian mainland

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Yes21
No73
Don't know6

Q Should Britain take / have taken the following measures over the Falklands Islands situation?
Use military force to regain British sovereignty in the Falklands in spite of American pressure

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 1982
 %%%
Yes686669
No242624
Don't know886

Q During the Falkland Islands situation has your opinion of … gone up, gone down or stayed the same?

 14 Apr 1982
 Gone upGone downStayed the sameDon't know
 %%%%
Mrs Thatcher, the Prime Minister1227591
Lord Carrington, former Foreign Secretary1034478
Francis Pym, current Foreign Secretary16114528
John Nott, Defence Secretary6374314
Michael Foot, Opposition Leader924607
Denis Healey, Shadow Foreign Secretary816679
Tony Benn, Labour MP634518
David Owen, SDP Foreign Affairs Spokesman16116013
Ronald Reagan, President of the USA828559

Q During the Falkland Islands situation has your opinion of … gone up, gone down or stayed the same?

 20-21 Apr 1982
 Gone upGone downStayed the sameDon't know
 %%%%
Mrs Thatcher1514692
Francis Pym, current Foreign Secretary1485721
Alexander Haig, American Secretary of State31154311

Q During the Falkland Islands situation has your opinion of … gone up, gone down or stayed the same?

 23-24 Apr 1982
 Gone upGone downStayed the sameDon't know
 %%%%
Mrs Thatcher2015641
Francis Pym, current Foreign Secretary2285615
Alexander Haig, American Secretary of State2617498

Q During the Falkland Islands situation has your opinion of … gone up, gone down or stayed the same?

 21-23 June 1982
 Gone upGone downStayed the sameDon't know
 %%%%
Mrs Thatcher, the Prime Minister45748*
Francis Pym, current Foreign Secretary276616
John Nott, Defence Secretary2213604
Michael Foot, Opposition Leader447453
Denis Healey, Shadow Foreign Secretary1016677
Tony Benn, Labour MP656344
David Owen, SDP Foreign Affairs Spokesman2286010
Ronald Reagan, President of the USA1134523
Roy Jenkins, SDP MP213769

Q (Apr / May) Do you favour or oppose the proposal that the Falkland Islands should become Argentinian territory, but leased back to the British government for administration?
Q (Jun) Which of these options do you think are acceptable as a long term settlement to the Falklands situation, and which are not acceptable? The Falklands should become Argentinian sovereign territory, but leased back to the British government for administration.

 14 Apr 19823-5 May 198221-23 Jun 1982
 %%%
Favour / Acceptable262311
Oppose / Unacceptable636486
Don't know11133

Q Which of these options do you think are acceptable as a long term settlement to the Falklands situation, and which are not acceptable? The UN should take over trusteeship of the islands.

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Acceptable39
Unacceptable53
Don't know8

Q Which of these options do you think are acceptable as a long term settlement to the Falklands situation, and which are not acceptable? British sovereignty of the Falklands should be retained, backed up by British military and naval presence.

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Acceptable77
Unacceptable18
Don't know5

Q Which of these options do you think are acceptable as a long term settlement to the Falklands situation, and which are not acceptable? The Falkland Islands should become an independent state, protected by Britain.

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Acceptable67
Unacceptable29
Don't know5

Q Do you think that retaining British sovereignty over the Falklands is important enough to justify the loss of Falkland Islanders' lives as a result of British military action?

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 1982
 %%%%
Yes, important enough36384645
No, not important enough55504648
Don't know91287

Q Do you think that retaining British sovereignty over the Falklands is important enough to justify the loss of British service men's lives?

 14 Apr 198220-21 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 1982
 %%%%%
Yes, important enough4451585362
No, not important enough4942374334
Don't know78544

Q Do you think that retaining British sovereignty over the Falklands, if they are regained, is important enough to pay increased taxes to maintain military and naval forces to protect them?*

 14 Apr 19823-5 May 198221-23 Jun 1982
 %%%
Yes, important enough585971
No, not important enough363424
Don't know675

* Q on 21-23 June omitted "if they are regained"

Q How much do you personally care whether Britain regains sovereignty over the Falkland Islands or not?

 14 Apr 198223-24 Apr 19823-5 May 198225-26 May 1982
 %%%%
Care very much51545154
Care a little32313228
Don't care at all141213n/a
Don't know343n/a

Q Which of these outcomes do you think is most likely?

 14 Apr 1982
 %
Argentina will take her troops out of the Falklands and Britain's sovereignty will be returned without a fight20
Argentina will agree to lease the Falklands to Britain without force being used by Britain16
No diplomatic solution will be found in time, and Britain will have to fight a naval battle in the Falklands to regain its sovereignty25
British troops will be forced to land on the Falkland Islands to reclaim the Falklands25
Britain will be forced to back down and never regain the Falkland Islands6
Other2
Don't know6

Q As you know, there have now been proposals made for settling the Falklands Island situation. Would you favour or oppose a joint Argentinian-British civil administration over the Falklands with America as overseers and islanders involved?

 20-21 Apr 1982
 %
Favour39
Oppose49
Don't know12

Q Would you favour or oppose: Both the Argentinian and British flags to fly over the Falklands?

 20-21 Apr 1982
 %
Favour32
Oppose54
Don't know13

Q Would you favour or oppose: The Falkland Islanders themselves to have the final say over the issue of the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands?

 20-21 Apr 198221-23 Jun 1982
 %%
Favour7772
Oppose1524
Don't know84

Q Do you think Falkland Islanders should be permitted to sell their farms to Argentinians, or not?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Yes, should be allowed33
No, should not be allowed58
Don't know9

Q I'm going to read out some statements people have made about the Falklands situation, and would like to ask you whether you agree or disagree with each. "Britain should go to war with Argentina to re-establish sole administration over the Falkland Islands, even if this involves considerable loss of life on both sides"

 23-24 Apr 1982
 %
Agree50
Disagree46
Don't know4

Q I'm going to read out some statements people have made about the Falklands situation, and would like to ask you whether you agree or disagree with each. "Britain should go to war with Argentina in order to ensure that the Union Jack is the only flag flying on the Falklands, even if this involves considerable loss of life on both sides"

 23-24 Apr 1982
 %
Agree46
Disagree49
Don't know4

Q I'm going to read out some statements people have made about the Falklands situation, and would like to ask you whether you agree or disagree with each. "An agreement between Britain and Argentina must include the Falkland Islanders right to have the final say"

 23-24 Apr 1982
 %
Agree83
Disagree15
Don't know3

Q I'm going to read out some statements people have made about the Falklands situation, and would like to ask you whether you agree or disagree with each. "Britain should be prepared to fire the first shot, even if diplomatic talks are still taking place"

 23-24 Apr 1982
 %
Agree43
Disagree51
Don't know6

Q I'm going to read out some statements people have made about the Falklands situation, and would like to ask you whether you agree or disagree with each. "It is wrong to go to war now, if the government is willing to give up the Falkland Islands in the long term"

 23-24 Apr 1982
 %
Agree57
Disagree35
Don't know8

Q Should Britain have bombed the Port Stanley airport on the Falkland Islands, or not?

 3-5 May 1982
 %
Should81
Should not14
Don't know5

Q Should Britain have sunk the Argentinian cruiser with about 1,000 men on board outside the 200-mile zone or not?

 3-5 May 1982
 %
Should46
Should not44
Don't know10

Q Do you think in their handling of the situation in the Falklands the government has been too willing to use military force, not willing enough or has it been about right?

 3-5 May 198225-26 May 1982
 %%
Too willing2516
Not willing enough712
About right6470
Don't know42

Q On balance, do you think world opinion of Britain has gone up, gone down or remained unchanged during the Falklands dispute?

 25-26 May 1982
 %
Gone up38
Gone down19
Remained unchanged34
Don't know9

Q Do you think the United Nations has done enough to help solve the dispute over the Falklands, or not?
Q. And have the United States of America done enough to help solve the dispute, or not?
Q. And the members of the Common Market?

 25-26 May 1982
 UNUSAEEC
 %%%
Done enough325050
Not done enough624742
Don't know638

Q If Britain recaptures the Falklands, which of these options do you feel are acceptable as a long-term settlement, and which are not acceptable? The Falklands should become Argentinian sovereign territory but leased back to the British government for administration.

 25-26 May 1982
 %
Acceptable21
Not acceptable74
Don't know5

Q If Britain recaptures the Falklands, which of these options do you feel are acceptable as a long-term settlement, and which are not acceptable? The United Nations should take over trusteeship of the islands

 25-26 May 1982
 %
Acceptable51
Not acceptable43
Don't know6

Q If Britain recaptures the Falklands, which of these options do you feel are acceptable as a long-term settlement, and which are not acceptable? British sovereignty of the Falklands should be retained, backed up by British military and naval presence

 25-26 May 1982
 %
Acceptable70
Not acceptable27
Don't know3

Q Which of the following do you feel has given you the best overall coverage of the Falklands dispute?

 25-26 May 1982
 %
Television65
Radio11
Newspapers15
Don't know9

Q Two hundred and fifty British servicemen have lost their lives recapturing the Falklands, and the operation is estimated to have cost one billion pounds. Given the cost in lives and money, do you think Britain should have sent the task force or not?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Should76
Should not22
Don't know2

Q On balance, do you agree or disagree that it was wrong to go to war if the Government is willing to give up the Falkland Islands in the long term?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Agree, was wrong56
Disagree, was not wrong41
Don't know3

Q How satisfied are you with the support the United States has given Britain during the Falklands dispute?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Very satisfied9
Fairly satisfied54
Not very satisfied25
Not at all satisfied10
Don't know3

Q British reporters with the Task Force had their reports censored by the Ministry of Defence before publication was allowed. Do you think that the Ministry of Defence should do this, or do you think that responsibility should lie with individual news editors?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Ministry of Defence should censor65
Responsibility with individual editors28
Don't know7

Q As you may know, Britain is a member of NATO. This means that it shares a defence policy with America and its Western Allies. Would you support or oppose a reduction in Britain's commitment of men and money to NATO in order to finance the defence of the Falklands?

 21-23 Jun 1982
 %
Yes, would support46
No, would oppose37
Don't know17
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