Voters consider illegal migrants a security threat, polling shows

Voters consider illegal migrants a security threat, polling shows

October 20, 2023

In a recent poll commissioned by Migration Watch UK, British voters were asked about their views regarding illegal migration, security threats and judicial influence. The results provide valuable insights into the current political climate. Reflecting on these findings, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

Public opinion is quite clear: illegal migrants are mostly seen as bad for our country. The government must heed this message and take action to safeguard our nation's interests and uphold the rule of law.

Small boats: a security threat

The poll also delved into public perceptions of illegal migrants arriving in Britain via small boats crossing the English Channel. Over half of the respondents (52%) considered these arrivals to be a "security threat" to the UK. This sentiment was particularly pronounced among skilled workers (66%), Conservative party supporters (78%) and Leavers (77%).

Illegal migrants: mostly bad for Britain

When asked about their views on illegal migrants, (46%) replied that they believe illegal migrants are "mostly bad" for the country. Fewer than one in ten (7%), thought that illegal migrants are "mostly good" for Britain. These results indicate a prevailing scepticism among the public regarding the impact of illegal migration.

An "invasion" of small boats

A noteworthy finding from the poll is that more than half of those surveyed (51%) consider the recent influx of small boats into Britain as an "invasion." This perception is particularly prevalent among specific demographics, including skilled working-class individuals (66%), Conservatives (77%) and Brexiteers (78%).

European Courts and Immigration Policy

Lastly, the poll investigated public sentiment regarding the influence of European courts and judges in Britain's asylum and immigration policy. The results showed that remarkably few voters support European courts and judges having such influence, with only one in five voters in favour (20%). In contrast, more than half of the respondents (52%) oppose this idea. This opposition is especially pronounced among Conservative (78%), pro-Brexit (72%) and skilled ‘C2’ voters (60%).

The polling data is available here


1. Views on illegal migrants:

In response to a question about their perception of illegal migrants who entered Britain via small boats in the English Channel, the respondents had the following opinions:

  • Mostly good for the country: 7%
  • Mostly bad for the country: 46%
  • Both good and bad for the country: 27%
  • Don't know: 20%

2. Perceived security threat:

Regarding whether they considered tens of thousands of asylum-seekers and illegal migrants arriving in Britain by small boats a security threat, the respondents' opinions were as follows:

  • Should be considered a security threat to the UK: 52%
  • Should not be considered a security threat to the UK: 20%
  • Don't know: 28%

3. Describing the situation as "an invasion":

The poll sought opinions on whether describing the situation as "an invasion" was accurate. The responses were as follows:

  • Completely true: 28%
  • Somewhat true: 23%
  • Somewhat false: 12%
  • Completely false: 17%
  • Don't know: 21%

4. Influence of European courts and judges:

On the issue of European courts and judges being able to override decisions about Britain’s asylum and immigration policy, the respondents' views were:

  • Strongly agree: 10%
  • Tend to agree: 10%
  • Tend to disagree: 13%
  • Strongly disagree: 39%
  • Don't know: 28%


Fieldwork for this survey was conducted by People Polling on October 5, 2023, and the data was collected online. The population comprised adults (aged 18 and above) residing in Great Britain, with a sample size of 1,851 participants. People Polling is a member of the British Polling Council (BPC).

The sampling process involved utilising a panel provider that incentivised participants with the opportunity to win money. An online quota approach was employed, aiming to match the demographic composition of the Office of National Statistics quotas. These quotas covered various factors, including gender, age, region, socio-economic group, vote in the 2019 general election, and vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

It is important to note that no specific criteria were used to either over- or under-sample respondents, ensuring a fair and balanced representation. To guarantee that the polling results remained reflective of the target population, the sample was weighted based on demographic population targets for factors such as gender, age, socio-economic group, region, vote in the 2019 General Elections, and 2016 Brexit referendum vote.

The polling data is available here

Press Release

Print Press Release

Share Article