Pollytics blog reports on some interesting Essential Research polling on refugees. It does a bit more to fill the big gaps in our public opinion knowledge of refugees: there have been many questions about boat arrivals but very few about what the public thinks of the broader refugee program.
From this perspective, the most important proposition put by Essential Research was:
The federal government should be allowing legitimate refugees to enter the country and contribute to our nation.
A plurality (45%) agreed, and a minority (25%) disagreed. A surprisingly high 30% of respondents did not have a view.
Though only 25% oppose refugees generally, 66% agree with turning the boats back. Possible reasons are the prospect of terrorists being on the boats (56% agree) and doubts about whether the refugees currently coming to Australia are genuine refugees (37% think they might not be, though the question was confused with the added concept of processing them immediately).
What we need now are questions about the concept of a ‘queue’ and whether there are particular types of refugees the public does or does not want.
10 November update: A useful summary of polls from Pollytics blog.