Sometimes those behind opinion surveys are only too keen to omit basic questions about what the public think of the huge scale of immigration.
A number of commentators now even claim that the public are less bothered about the lack of border control because of an apparent shift in perceptions of immigration over the past few years.
The evidence doesn’t back up such a claim, as our new briefing paper argues. If anything, many Britons now appear to be more concerned about uncontrolled immigration than ever.
Watch Westmonster on YouTube:
If people really are less negative about immigration than they were in 2010, it is not because they now want open borders. Just the opposite.
A recent YouGov survey revealed that just 5% of the public think immigration has been too low in recent years. Yet the political and much of the commentariat class are happy to jump to the tune of a tiny fringe minority of the public.
Instead, the sensible and quiet majority of people – a cross-party group encompassing all ethnic and age groups – want more carefully controlled immigration.
When asked about the scale of immigration, poll after poll shows that well over half of those surveyed support tighter control, amounting to 30 million adults (see our briefing paper).
And, when asked whether immigration has been a positive or negative thing for the UK, opinion is starkly divided. For example, 36% of one sample answered in the negative and 35% said positive (YouGov survey, February 2020.
The apparent shift in views recently could be linked to a range of factors, one of which relates to the sample of the public that is asked.
For example, one poll even excluded respondents over 65, which seems extraordinary. The reason may be that older respondents are much more likely to be concerned about immigration; doubtless because they have been there, done it and learned from the experience. Whatever happened to respect for the knowledge and wisdom of our elders?
Something else that has to be borne in mind is the large increase (amounting to about a fifth) in the migrant and migrant-descended population since 2001. As Ipsos notes: “Countries with [a] higher proportion of immigrants tend to have more positive views about immigration.”
There has also been a change in editorial policy, particularly on immigration, at several organs of the press such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express since 2018.
Pollsters cannot deny that a solid majority in the country want sensible immigration control.
Yet 30 million people keep being ignored by a political and media establishment that appears intent on delivering far less control not more.