Migration attitudes surprisingly stable

There hasn’t been much comment on yesterday’s Nielsen poll on migration. It doesn’t give comparative reuslts, but by doing so we can see that the proportion of Australians thinking that that immigration is too high is stable compared to 2007. On slightly different questions Nielsen finds 43% of respondents saying that the immigration level is too high, compared to 46% of respondents to the Australian Election Survey in 2007 saying that migrant numbers should be reduced.

This is a little surprising. As shown in a chapter on public opinion in a new book, Australia’s Immigration Revolution, historically unemployment and negative migration opinion trend together. While Australia’s economic downturn has been very mild by global standards, I would have expected rising unemployment and lower subjective job security (the number of people worried about losing their jobs always vastly exceeds the number who actually do) to have reduced support for migration.

I thought in 2008 that the trend against migration observed in 2007 might be due to housing issues. While housing inflation did cool a little during the GFC, I’ve heard several recent media mentions of the effect high migration is having on housing availability and cost, and thought this might start to bite in public opinion. But there is no evidence of it in these figures.