Poll: Public starting to get bored of immigration debate

Public views on immigration are mixed, but there's a big jump in the number thinking it's discussed too much
Public views on immigration are mixed, but there's a big jump in the number thinking it's discussed too much
Ian Dunt By

The public may be starting to tire of the immigration debate, according to a new poll.

The Ipsos Mori survey showed that while those who want immigration to be discussed less are still outnumbered by those who want to discuss it more, they have more than doubled in number since 2011.

Three years ago just 11% of people thought immigration was discussed too much, but that number has now leapt to 26%.

However it is still dwarfed by the number of people who believe immigration is not discussed enough, which currently stands at 43%. They are also fewer in number than those who think immigration is discussed the right amount, which currently stands at 28%.

"Overall the findings show the difficulty of getting the conversation with the public right on immigration – given there are such divergent views," Bobby Duffy, managing director of Ipsos Mori social research institute, said.

"The trends suggest a polarisation of opinion, with an increasing proportion tired of the talk of immigration, but still significantly outnumbered by those who think the issue is not being discussed enough."

Labour supporters (30%) and Lib Dem supporters (40%) are most likely to feel that the issue is being discussed too much while Conservative supporters and Ukip supporters are significantly less likely to (19% and 11% respectively).

There are also noticeable trends in terms of age, with older groups much more likely to think immigration has been discussed too little.

Sixty per cent of those aged over 55 agreed with this, compared to 36% of those aged 35-54 and 32% of 18-34-year-olds.

There is a slight improvement in the public's sense that the government is being open and honest about the scale of immigration, but the picture remains overwhelmingly negative.

Eighteen per cent of people think the government is open and honest about the scale of immigration compared to 69% who disagree.

Even among Tory voters, just 27% believe the government is open and honest about the subject. Among Ukip voters that figure falls to one per cent.

There was also a slight improvement in people's happiness with immigration policy. Even though only 23% of people felt that way, it was still the highest satisfaction level on this area of policy since Ipsos Mori started the survey in 2006.

However, 58% of Tory voters were still dissatisfied with government policy, compared to 46% of Liberal Democrats, 65% of Labour supporters and 90% of Ukip supporters.

The findings have been published to coincide with a parliamentary debate on immigration organised by think tank British Future.


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