Poll shows immigration will be at heart of election campaign

February 07, 2005

A new survey has confirmed that a party’s policy on immigration will play a major role in deciding how people vote in the next general election.

A YouGov poll, for think tank Migrationwatch, taken last week shows that 45% agreed, including 21% who strongly agreed, that a party’s policy on immigration would influence their vote at the next general election. This view was consistently held amongst all age groups, social grades and regions, with slightly less support in Scotland and among the under 30s.

When asked if they thought the Government ‘has immigration under control’ 77% either disagreed or strongly disagreed while 67% disagreed, including 38% who strongly disagreed, that the Government was listening to the public’s concerns.

When asked if they thought the Government was being ‘open and honest about the scale of immigration into Britain’ 74% disagreed, 41% strongly.

‘It is clear that a very large majority of people see immigration as an issue of real concern; they do not believe that it is being properly managed, nor do they believe what they are being told. Rather, they believe that the Government is simply not listening to them,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch.

The survey also reinforced the point that it was not the nationality or culture of immigrants that mainly concerned people, but the numbers, as 56% either agreed (37%) or strongly agreed (19%) that it is a good thing that Britain is a multicultural society.

There was however concern that the record level of immigration is contributing to a loss of Britain’s own culture with 61% agreeing (30% strongly) to the proposition.

There was little enthusiasm for further immigration. Only 19% agreed (4% strongly) that immigration is having a positive effect on the quality of life in Britain. 53% disagreed, including 27% strongly. In a related question 67% agreed (37% strongly) that too many immigrants were coming to Britain.

There were also fears about the pressure it was putting on our public services with 75% agreeing (40% strongly) that it was.

Very nearly two thirds rejected one of the government’s main justifications for immigration, namely their claim that immigrants are needed to do jobs that British people don’t want to do (65%, of which 32% strongly disagreed).

‘These results could hardly be clearer. They demonstrate conclusively that the Government’s policy of ignoring public concern and insinuating that anyone who raises the issue has a racist agenda has completely failed. They must now at last address the real issues. Whether they will be believed is another matter,’ said Sir Andrew.

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