AP/Ipsos Polls: Reactions To Immigration In Leading Nations

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The following is based on data collected between May 7 and 17, 2004, in Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and the United States by Ipsos Public Affairs and the Associated Press. The subject is citizens' reactions to immigration, based on responses to the following questions: Immigration A Touchy Subject In Some Countries Within a context of high concerns over unemployment and terrorism, and in Europe, worries that the EU's expansion will usher in a flood of immigration, citizens in many of the countries that Ipsos/AP polled expressed negative feelings about immigrants in their country. But in one country after another, those with more education tended to have the most positive view of the influence of immigration.
  • Despite thinking that immigrants mostly take jobs that other citizens wouldn't want, more citizens in the U.S. and the European countries surveyed consider immigrants as having a negative influence on their country than consider immigrants' influence as positive. Britons expressed the strongest negative feelings (60%) of any of the nine countries polled.
  • In Mexico, almost half of citizens do not agree that it's mostly bad jobs that immigrants are taking, in addition to a majority opinion that immigrants are a negative force on the country.
  • The situation changes in Canada, where most citizens think that immigrants are good for the country and that they fill positions other Canadians wouldn't want.
  • In Japan, opinion is split on whether immigrants represent a positive or negative force in their country, though a large majority believes that it's mostly undesirable jobs that are being occupied by immigrants.
Homogeneity or Diversity?
  • In Mexico, a large majority (71%) said they think it's better if almost everyone in a country shares the same customs and traditions. But in Canada and especially the U.S., such a statement received only minority agreement (40% in Canada and 27% in the U.S.). In Japan, too, more people disagreed than agreed with the statement "It is better for a country if almost everyone shares the same customs and traditions."
  • In Europe, citizens were divided in their responses to the statement, with nearly half agreeing in the U.K., Italy, and Germany and just over half agreeing in Spain and France.
  • The statement " It is better for a country to have a variety of people with different religions" elicited broader and stronger agreement across the survey, though a large minority of Germans (42%) disagreed.
Summary Immigration--and the extent to which a country encourages or puts roadblocks up to immigration--is an especially hot topic in Europe right now as the EU expands. Giles Coleman, who monitors European public opinion for Ipsos, says immigration is among the top issues Europeans want addressed in elections there, after unemployment. Of the especially high negative feelings expressed toward immigrants in the U.K., Sam McGuire, of Ipsos-UK, said that they may well have to do with the stories circulating that predict a fresh wave of immigration because of EU expansion. With regard to Germans' reactions, Christian Holst, director of public affairs for Ipsos Germany, said they may be related to post-Sept. 11 fears about security and terrorism, as well as to Germany's relatively high unemployment rate. Still, many industrial countries share the experience of Spain, where an influx of immigrants provides laborers for work in olive and fruit groves, or at construction sites or greenhouses. The data show that most citizens polled recognize this (i.e., that immigrants take jobs that ordinary citizens wouldn't want); but apparently this isn't enough to sway their overall view on immigration toward the positive. The Globus Research Methodology This alert was based on an Ipsos Globus: International Affairs poll taken between May 7 and 17, 2004, in nine countries, with a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percentage points. The nationally representative samples consisted of: For further information about Globus and our other global research survey, World Monitor, or about the work conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, please email Brian R. Scanlon, Director of Sales, at brian.scanlon@ipsos-na.com or contact him by phone at 202-463-7300. To view the complete filled-in questionnaire for this survey, please download the Topline Results. To view the summary charts for this survey, please download the Charts. To view the press releases for the other countries surveyed, please download the pdf's below: Canada Britain France Germany Italy Spain Mexico For more information on this press release, please contact: Thomas Riehle President, Ipsos Public Affairs Washington, D.C. 202.463.7300 About Ipsos Public Affairs Ipsos Public Affairs, headquartered in Washington D.C., is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research company made up of campaign and political polling veterans as well as seasoned research professionals. The company conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research but often elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. It has offices in New York City, Chicago, San Ramon (CA), and Washington, with affiliates around the world. Ipsos Public Affairs conducts national and international public opinion polling on behalf of The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization, and conducts the young voters poll for Newsweek.com. Ipsos Public Affairs is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos-na.com/news/pa About Ipsos Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and reactions of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world. Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting and modeling and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2003, Ipsos generated global revenues of $644.2 million U.S. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos.com Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris Premier Marchй, and is part of the SBF 120 and Next Prime Indices as well as eligible to the Deferred Settlement System (SRD). Euroclear code 7329, Reuters ISOS.LN, Bloomberg IPS FP

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