Immigration, are we talking about it?

New research released at today's British Future immigration event, shows that two in five people (43%) still feel the issue of immigration has been discussed too little, 28% think it's discussed about the right amount and 26% that it has been discussed too much.

New research by the Ipsos Social Research Institute, released at today’s British Future immigration event, shows that two in five people (43%) still feel the issue of immigration has been discussed too little, 28% think it’s discussed about the right amount and 26% that it has been discussed too much.

This is a big shift in public opinion when compared with the same question asked in 2011 – in particular the proportion saying we are discussing immigration too much has more than doubled from 11% then to 26% now, as the chart shows.

 

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). And older groups are much more likely to still think immigration has been discussed too little: 60% of those aged 55+, compared with 36% of those aged 35-54 and 32% of those aged 18-34.

More see the government as open and honest on immigration than 10 years ago – but 69% still don’t think they are

So has the greater discussion about immigration changed people’s views? The picture appears to be mixed. Our research shows that currently about one in five people (18%) agree that the government is open and honest about the scale of immigration into Britain compared with seven in ten (69%) who disagree. Our trends show that since 2003 the public does feel there is now a bit more honesty about the scale of immigration and levels of disagreement have fallen over the same period.

 

As you might expect Conservative supporters are more positive – but even here, only 27% of Conservative voters say the government is open and honest. Only 1% of UKIP voters agree.

Satisfaction with the government highest we’ve measured – but only 23% are happy, and two-thirds are dissatisfied

There has been little change in satisfaction with our latest poll in February – but at 23%, this is still the highest level of satisfaction we’ve recorded since this series started in 2006. However, dissatisfaction is also at a similar level, with still two thirds of the public dissatisfied.

 

Again there are significant proportions of Coalition party supporters who are not happy with the government on immigration: 58% of Conservative supporters are dissatisfied, and 46% of Lib Dems are dissatisfied. As we might expect dissatisfaction is higher for Labour supporters (65%) and extremely high for UKIP supporters (90% dissatisfied).

Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of Ipsos Social Research Institute, said:

“Overall the findings show the difficulty of getting the conversation with the public right on immigration – given there are such divergent views. 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.And the difficulty facing the political parties in convincing those who are drawn to UKIP that they can deal with their concerns are also clear – their supporters are nearly universally unimpressed with the current government’s approaches.”

Technical note

  • Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 8th – 12th March 2013. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
  • Please note that some trend data shown uses a different methodological approach therefore comparisons should be made with caution.

More insights about Culture

Society