Very little link between migration levels and attitudes to immigration

Much like the assertion that nobody can talk about immigration without being accused of being a racist (if anything immigration is talked about too much relative to its impact), the idea that public concern about immigration is related to the numbers of migrants settling in the UK appears also to be a myth.

Much like the assertion that nobody can talk about immigration without being accused of being a racist (if anything immigration is talked about too much relative to its impact), the idea that public concern about immigration is related to the numbers of migrants settling in the UK is also largely a myth. As the graph below shows. (Hat tip: @robfordmancs).

The next time you hear a politician talk about the public’s “legitimate concerns” over immigration, ask yourself whether they really mean the exaggerated concerns of right-wing politicians and the press rather than worries over the actual number of migrants.

The report the graph comes from also found that:

In 2002, the average public estimate of migration levels was more than double the actual level. The proportion of British voters who demand lower migration levels drops by 15 per cent when respondents are presented with real numbers, suggesting a significant portion of current opposition to migration stems from exaggerated views of the situation.

The full report can be read here.

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