It is all about how the questions are put
There’s a new Ipsos-MORI poll reported in the Observer that suggests that more than two thirds would be ready to welcome migrants from Bulgaria and Romania provided that they “learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.”
The poll itself has been funded by the thinktank British Future and comes only three days before the changes relating to the two countries come into effect. Clearly it has been designed to have an impact on the overall debate.
Generally I am wary about polls funded by interest groups without being able to see the detailed data myself. In this case I’m having to rely on the way the paper is reporting the findings. It notes:-
“…British people are happy to accept migrants from the east of Europe who learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.
As many as 68% of those asked said they would be happy for migrants to come on those terms. That sentiment was particularly strong among people aged between 35 and 44, with 72% supporting their right to come to live and work in the UK….
…the new poll finds that only one in four Britons (24%) believe that restricting the free movement of people, while staying in the EU, should be one of the government’s priorities. A similar proportion (26%) said leaving the EU should be a priority if it does not change its rules on allowing people to come to the UK.
Nearly half (45%) said that enforcing the minimum wage was one of the most important ways of stopping business undercutting British workers by paying European workers less. Around one in five (22%) believed in the importance of managing the impact of immigration by, for example, giving more support to areas heavily affected.
The polling also showed that, while a significant majority did want a tightening of the welfare system (63%), just 2% of those asked believed that there was nothing migrants from Romania and Bulgaria could do to be accepted. This compares with 69% who said that learning the English language should be a priority for migrants, and 64% who said getting a job and paying taxes were among the key things to do….”
Until the detailed dataset is published it is hard to comment on issues like the way the questions were formulated.
The poll detail is now available
The actual poll question that the Observer put on its front page was:-
“Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain have got to learn the language, work hard and pay taxes, fit in and be part of the community. If they do that, we should welcome them to the UK”
two in three (68%) agree, while 13% disagree.