Anthony Wells of UK Polling Report looks at a recent YouGov poll on the riots and finds that a majority of those polled think that the police should be able to use more tactics against rioters.

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun on Tuesday had topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9% – nothing out of line with the recent YouGov averages. Crime had predictably shot up the list of what people thought were the important issues facing the country, 48% of people picked crime (up from 23% a fortnight ago), making it the second most picked issue after the economy.

There were also a series on questions specifically on the riots. While 91% of people thought it was right that Cameron & Boris Johnson had returned from their holidays, they were generally seen as having handled the riots badly so far. Only 28% thought Cameron & May had handled them well, 24% thought Boris had handled it well (though of course, much of the fieldwork was done prior to Cameron & Johnson having done anything but get on a plane!). People were on balance positive about how the police had handled the riots- 52% thought they had handled them well, but a large minority (43%) thought they’d done badly.

Asked if the police should be able to use various tactics in response to riots provoked some pretty gung ho responses – 90% of people thought they should be able to use water cannon, 84% mounted police, 82% curfews, 78% tear gas, 72% tasers, 65% plastic bullets, 33% live ammunition. 77% thought that the army should be brought in. See the following table for more  of the results:

Table 1: Do you think the police should or should not be able to use the following in the course of dealing with rioters?

Should Should not Don’t know
Water Cannon 90 6 4
Mounted police 84 11 4
Curfews 82 11 7
Tear gas 78 17 4
Tasers 72 21 7
Plastic bullets 65 28 7
Firearms/live ammunition 33 59 7
Would you support or oppose using the army to help deal with the riots? Support Oppose Don’t know
77 17 6

Source: YouGov poll 8-9 August

People also tended to feel that most of those rioting would get away with it. Only 13% thought that the majority of most of those rioting would eventually be prosecuted and punished, 67% thought that the majority would get away with it, 18% that most or all would get away with it.

This article first appeared on UK Polling Report on 10 August.

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