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.

2 thoughts on “Migration attitudes surprisingly stable

  1. I’m glad you pointed this out Andrew.

    I saw some media interpretation of this poll suggesting that most people want fewer migrants, when the poll didn’t say this at all. If you add the ‘more migration’ and the ‘about right’ figures together, it’s clearly in the majority.

    I’d also like to see a clearer breakdown of the ‘fewer migrants’ figure. Whilst there is a sizable minority who would prefer lower migration, I’d be very surprised if most of those would support the zero-net migration approach put forward by the anti-migration extremists who get so much coverage,


  2. Legal immigration is good, people demonstrate they are willing to obey our laws. Illegals should be tossed out, we have the right to control our borders,the majority has treated new immigrants to any country in the world with disdain. To understand the root causes for this animosity, one simply needs to understand how most of us think.


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