YouGov poll: 63 per cent of people think no party can control immigration

Despite worries about public services and benefits system, people are more likely to have friends from diverse backgrounds than they were ten years ago

 

‘Benefit tourism’ is still the main concern of the British public when it comes to immigration, according to a Times/YouGov poll on public attitudes.

56 per cent of respondents named this as the main negative effect of immigration; 45 per cent said they worried most about increased pressure on public services; and 44 per cent said that allowing people with extremist views or terrorist sympathies into the country was their biggest concern.

63 per cent of voters do not believe that any political party is able to control the number of immigrants coming to the UK.

As YouGov’s president Peter Kellner points out, there is a difference between the way people perceive immigration as an issue and the way they perceive immigrants themselves. 75 per cent of respondents said that there had been too much immigration over the last ten years. However, when asked to consider specific groups people are generally less hostile; most voters reject reducing the current numbers of immigrants who come to work in the NHS, to study or to flee war and persecution.

A majority also reject cutbacks to the numbers of wealthy immigrants wanting to invest in Britain, and people with high levels of education and skills.

Bearing this information in mind, it is clear that stereotypes about certain nationalities persist. When asked about immigration from different parts of the world,

53 per cent said US immigrants would make a positive contribution

50 per cent said German immigrants would make a positive contribution

44 per cent said Indian immigrants would make a positive contribution

27 per cent said Pakistani immigrants would make a positive contribution

18 per cent said Romanian immigrants would make a positive contribution

12 per cent said Somalian immigrants would make a positive contribution

Tabloids are fond of portraying Romanians and Somalians as lazy and exploitative of the benefits system, and this may have altered public perception. These are also poorer countries than the US and Germany, meaning that immigrants are less likely to be investors or paying students.

The difference between perceptions of Indians and Pakistanis also suggests that religion plays an important role, although participants were not specifically asked about this.

There are also some positive findings from the poll. In 2005, 50 per cent of people questioned by YouGov said that all of their close friends were white; that number has now decreased to 37 per cent.

This suggests that, despite the anger people feel at the government’s apparent lack of control over immigration numbers, we are as a society adapting to the impact of immigration. Dislike of immigration is strongest among women, working-class voters and people over 40, the people who are likely to feel least secure in society, and who have the most to fear from a clogged up benefits system or a lack of access to healthcare.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

6 Responses to “YouGov poll: 63 per cent of people think no party can control immigration”

  1. AlanGiles

    “strongest among women, working-class voters and people over 40, the
    people who are likely to feel least secure in society, and who have the
    most to fear from a clogged up benefits system or a lack of access to
    healthcare.”

    Rather patronising attitude, not likely to win you many friends where it matters. Just saying

  2. damon

    ”As YouGov’s president Peter Kellner points out, there is a difference between the way people perceive immigration as an issue and the way they perceive immigrants themselves.”

    This is why I get a bit annoyed by unreasonable people on the left (like LBC radio’s James O’Brien) who always suggest just that. That people who say they are concerned about immigration numbers must dislike immigrants.

    As for the ”stereotypes” – they are more than that. The article mentions Romamians without bothering to mention the Roma people. Which may be as bad as what the tabloids or Nigel Garage are guilty of.
    Roma people from Eastern Europe moving to the west is a massive issue, and extremely complex (what to do with them for example).
    Somalian communities also have some issues to deal with. One of which was recently just addressed by the banning of the drug khat. It’s also the case that they have the highest rates of unemployment amongst immigrant groups I think.

  3. Guest

    Oh yes, completely unreasonable to talk about the clear and strong link for many. Like you, as you’ve repeatedly shown, and do again with the hatred for travelling people, which is a major warning sign for violence between communities.

    Your narrative of inferior (and thus superior) peoples, as tobacco (Western) remains legal and Khat (Not Western) gets banned…it’s clear why people like show why they can’t get jobs, the prejudice is plain.

    (The reality, of course, is that the evidence from the government’s drug experts and the ACMD has been consistently against banning Khat – that it’s seen by the government as an “unacceptable cultural practice” (which is the same category as FGM and forced marriage) is in good part bigotry, and it’s lost British companies some major contracts in Somalia!)

  4. DRbilderburg

    i look forward to see immigrants in the house of commons that are anything other than working class scum. IE Cleaners and gophers, cheap labour. Why are none of them MPS And/or top civil servants Surely in an equal society they’d be walking amons’t the great and the good,So keen to help the disposessed start a new life in their adopted country They say hello then fk them off
    Any immigrant MPS NONE, and i’m not talking historic immigrants IE Miliband No they welcome immigrants into mine and your life, not theirs, if immigrants were queuing up to become MPS their would be no immigration
    Immigrants are to be fed into the meat grinder with the shelf stackers, barpeople, and those in social housing. They call us working class .They mean fking filth

  5. Guest

    Who’s said your 1% are working class?

  6. soundchaser

    UKIP are more trusted on Immigration according to the YouGov poll.

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