UK: More relaxed immigration policies could win over swing voters, analysis finds

Of note and to watch:

Public opinion on immigration has warmed “at a striking rate” and adopting a more liberal approach would help both Labour and the Conservatives win over more swing voters, new analysis suggests.

Conventional wisdom in Westminster has long been that tougher border policies are rewarded at the ballot box, with Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer winning praise from Ukip founder Nigel Farage on Tuesday after claiming the UK must end its “immigration dependency”.

But voters’ views of immigration have become increasingly positive since prior to the Brexit referendum, with Ipsos finding for the first time this year that – of those with an opinion on the matter – a majority now believe immigration levels should either increase or stay the same.

This contrasts strongly with the situation in February 2015, when 67 per cent wanted immigration reduced, versus just 20 per cent who wanted it to remain the same and 10 who wanted increased levels.

As a result, new analysis of swing voter intentions by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank suggests that the UK’s two largest political parties both would boost their electoral chances by adopting a more open immigration policy.

Source: More relaxed immigration policies could win over swing voters, analysis finds

Majority of Countries Don’t Approve of Trump’s Bid to Curb Immigration to U.S., 33-Nation Study Finds

More interesting public opinion research from Pew. Of most interest is that the same demographic patterns regarding concerns about immigration – right-oriented and rural area voters – are common to most countries:

Countries around the world strongly disapprove of President Donald Trump’s efforts to deter immigration to the U.S., a Pew Research Center poll of 33 nations has found.

In the Pew Research Center’s Spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey, Canada joined countries including Spain, Sweden, Germany and Turkey in showing high rates of disapproval for Trump’s policy to “allow fewer immigrants” into the U.S.

Most nations in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North African and Latin American countries, the Pew Research Center said, “disapprove of restricting immigration into the U.S.”

However, it asserted, there are “notable exceptions.”

In Europe, for example, Pew said a median of 51 percent of countries polled said they disapprove of Trump’s efforts.

However, the research center noted, “this masks relative support among many Central and Eastern Europeans for restricting immigration into the U.S.,” including Hungary and Poland, where approval ratings for Trump’s immigration efforts were higher than disapproval ratings.

“While majorities in Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain and the U.K. oppose Trump’s immigration policy, about half or more in Hungary, Slovakia and Poland (as well as a plurality in the Czech Republic) approve,” the study said.

Another “clear exception” to the trend, the study found, was Israel, where 58 percent said they were in support of Trump’s plan to limit migration.

Israel showed the highest rates of approval for the U.S. curbing immigration, followed by Hungary, where 54 percent were, in favor and Italy and Poland, where 51 percent were in support across both nations.

The Pew Research Center also noted that “there are consistent demographic patterns on this question as well, with ideologically right-oriented respondents expressing more approval than those on the left in most countries.”

For example, in Italy, the poll found that at least six in ten of those who identified themselves as being on the “right end of the ideological spectrum” were in support of Trump’s immigration policies, compared to just 26 percent of left-leaning people.

The divide between European supporters of right-wing populist parties and nonsupporters was also clear in the study, with supporters of Marie Le Pen’s National Rally in France three times as likely to support restricting immigration to the U.S. compared to nonsupporters.

Rural areas, the study also found, were also more likely to show support for restricting immigration to the U.S., including rural areas across Britain, where 41 percent of people living in rural regions said they supported the effort compared to 24 percent who lived in urban areas.

Results for the survey, which was conducted in Spring 2019, are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews Pew says were conducted under the direction of Gallup.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and Department of Homeland Security for comment on this article.

Source: Majority of Countries Don’t Approve of Trump’s Bid to Curb Immigration to U.S., 33-Nation Study Finds

After euphoria and anxiety, Germans turn pragmatic on immigration – study


Germans are broadly positive towards immigration and think it benefits the country, a survey showed, suggesting the often extreme reactions triggered by the arrival of a million-plus refugees there in 2015 have given way to a calmer view.

A long-standing split between attitudes in the more welcoming western Germany and more sceptical former Communist east has also become less marked, Thursday’s Bertelsmann Foundation study revealed – though judged purely on economic factors the differences between the two parts remain acute.

Overall, almost two thirds of Germans believe immigration is good for the economy and 67% that it makes life more interesting, with young people the most positive.

“Germany has passed the stress test of the 2015 immigration wave and has stabilised itself as a pragmatic immigrant country,” foundation board member Joerg Draeger said.

“The population sees the challenges, but also the opportunities it brings for an ageing society.”

Four years ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel chose to leave Germany’s borders open as an unprecedented wave of migrants, many of them fleeing war in Syria, headed for Europe.

While many greeted Merkel’s decision with initial euphoria, a backlash followed, with a jump in support for anti-immigration parties across Europe, one of which, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), entered parliament in 2017 for the first time.

While a sense of unease remains, the intensity of feeling has diminished. Some 49% still think Germany is overburdened with refugees, but that has declined from 54% since 2017.

Some of the divisions between east and west have also narrowed.

A total of 59% of western Germans said refugees were welcome, down from 65% in 2017, while the comparable figure in the poorer east rose to 42% from 33%, the survey showed.

However, as many as 83% in the east – where the AfD is expected to do well in two regional elections on Sunday – still feel immigration is a burden on the welfare state and just a slender majority think it good for the economy.

Canadians share most favourable view of immigrants, global study finds

Good summary of the latest Pew report (Global Opinions of Immigrants | Pew Research Center for full report):

Canadians have the most favourable opinion of immigrants among the world’s top migrant destination countries, viewing newcomers as a strength rather than a burden, says a new international survey.

The report by Washington-based Pew Research Center also found Canadians are the least likely to blame immigrants for crime or an increased risk of terrorism, among the respondents in 18 countries that together host half of the world’s migrants.

“Canada is on the top of the list in believing immigration is a plus to the country,” said Jeffrey Reitz, director of ethnic, immigration and pluralism studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, who is not involved in the survey.

“It also shows Canada is less polarized than the other countries on immigration as all Canadian political parties are on board with immigration. Even those on our right are more positive about immigration than the left in many other countries.”

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadian respondents in the survey believed immigrants make the country stronger while only 27 per cent said newcomers are a liability because they take jobs and social benefits, said the report released Thursday.

Canada was followed by Australia, where 64 per cent of respondents favoured immigration; the United Kingdom and Sweden, both at 62 per cent; and with Japan, at 59 per cent, rounding up the top five. In Mexico, currently a destination and transit country for tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Latin America, 57 per cent of people welcome migrants while 37 per cent considered them a burden.

In six European Union member states surveyed, public perception about immigration has shifted since 2014 after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. In Greece, Germany and Italy, the share of adults in favour of immigrants dropped significantly.

“In most countries surveyed, those on the left of the ideological spectrum are more positive about immigration’s impact on their country than those on the right,” said the 24-page report.

“In many countries surveyed, those with higher levels of education, younger adults, and those with higher incomes are more likely to say immigrants make their countries stronger because of their work and talents.”

The survey interviewed 19,235 people in 18 countries, including 1,056 Canadians, with five questions focusing on public attitude towards immigrants, integration, crime, terrorism and deportation. The Canadian portion of the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points

In Canada, people across the political spectrum share positive views of immigrants, with 81 per cent of left-leaning Canadians and 65 per cent of self-described conservative respondents in favour of newcomers. The 16 percentage-point gap was the second narrowest among the 18 countries.

In Greece, where the political gap was the narrowest, at just 13 percentage points, people were overwhelmingly opposed to immigration, with just 6 per cent of conservative respondents and 19 per cent of leftists in favour of migrants.

However, public attitudes are mixed on immigrants’ willingness to adapt to their new country’s customs and way of life, said the survey.

People in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, France and Sweden are more likely to say immigrants are inclined to integrate into their society, while their counterparts in Hungary, Russia, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Israel and Australia all said the opposite. Canadians are split in their views on whether immigrants want to fit in or not.

Eighty per cent of survey respondents in Canada said immigrants are no more to blame for crime and 65 per cent said immigrants don’t increase the risk of terrorism, compared to 17 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, who said otherwise.

The majority in most countries surveyed support the deportation of people who are in their homeland illegally, and Canada is no exception. While 53 per cent of Canadians said irregular migrants should be removed, only 37 per cent disagreed with the statement.

Percentage of people in various countries who supported the following statements:

Immigrants no more to blame for crime:

  • Canada: 80%
  • U.S.: 77%
  • France 76%
  • UK: 74%
  • Spain: 68%
  • 18-country median: 50%

Immigrants do not increase risk of terrorism:

  • Mexico: 65%
  • South Africa: 62%
  • Canada: 61%
  • Japan: 60%
  • France: 59%
  • U.S.: 56%
  • 18-country median: 48%

Immigrants are a strength:

  • Canada: 68%
  • Australia: 64%
  • UK: 62%
  • Sweden: 62%
  • Japan: 59%
  • U.S.: 59%
  • 18-country median: 56%

Source: Canadians share most favourable view of immigrants, global study finds

High-skilled immigration remains popular in anti-immigrant nations

Not much new but reinforces the point that the benefits of higher skilled immigrants are better understood than lower skilled:
Most of those calling for less immigration overall actually support high-skilled immigration, according to an international survey released this week — a counterpoint to the immigration backlash that has upended politics in the U.S. and other countries.

Why it matters: A majority of people who want to cut immigration levels do not necessarily see all immigrants as threats to their job security, but support bringing in foreign workers for highly technical jobs. As fights over asylum, the border and unauthorized immigration rage, the survey is a reminder that the opposition to immigration isn’t across the board.

The big picture: More than half of respondents from 10 of the 12 nations surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they support high-skilled immigration (Israel and Italy were the exceptions). In the U.S., 78% said they supported high-skilled immigrants.

  • But only two countries had immigrant populations where more than half had attained a college degree — Canada and Australia.
  • The U.S. has the highest number of college-educated immigrants, but they only make up around a third of the total U.S. immigrant population.

Between the lines: Immigrants — high-skilled, low-skilled and even unauthorized — play a crucial role in the American labor force beyond high-skilled jobs. The industries that most depend on unauthorized immigrant workers in the U.S., for example, include agriculture, construction and leisure/hospitality, according to an earlier study by Pew.

  • Immigrant workers could be key in maintaining high economic growth as the U.S. population ages and fertility rates drop.
  • “The Pew study shows the public clearly recognizes the great value high-skilled foreigners bring to America, and the critical role they play in our industries and communities nationwide,” Jeff Lande of the Lande Group, which represents India-based IT companies, told Axios.

Source: High-skilled immigration remains popular in anti-immigrant nations