Pollytics blog points out Essential Research polling showing that most Australians haven’t a clue what proportion of overall immigration is made up of boat arrivals:
The correct answer for last year is less than 1%, and maybe 3% this year.
Pollytics thinks this is because most people have no idea how few asylum seekers there are. But could it be because they have no idea how big the official migration program became under Howard and then Rudd?
More than a jumbo jet of invited migrants arrive every day (and that’s not even counting the long-term temporaries), but this is never reported excepted via cumulative statistics that few people absorb. By contrast every asylum seeker boat arrival is news (though I think it is slipping down the news hierarchy as it becomes more frequent). Given the relative news profiles of the two groups, it would seem plausible that people would have a better idea of the absolute number of asylum seekers than the absolute number of people arriving with visas.
Would support for the official migration program have been so high for so long if people knew what was really happening?