CHANGE OF HEART

Brits feel better about immigration after Brexit, according to the country’s most rigorous survey of public opinion

Brits have become more tolerant of immigrants following the Brexit vote.

That’s the conclusion of a recent survey on British social attitudes by the National Centre for Social Research, a respected pollster. When this question was first asked in 2011, respondents were more doubtful about the merits of immigration than they are now. The pollster’s survey of attitudes has been running since the early 1980s, making it the longest-running poll of public opinion in the country.

There has been a notable change since the Brexit referendum. In the latest survey, conducted between July and October 2017, almost half of respondents believed that migrants are good for Britain’s economy, while 17% said that they are bad. What’s more, almost twice as many respondents said that migrants enrich Britain’s culture (44%) than undermine it (23%).

“There is little sign here that the EU referendum campaign served to make Britain less tolerant towards migrants; rather they have apparently come to be valued to a degree that was not in evidence before the referendum campaign,” the pollsters note in a report on the findings (pdf).

The study confirms what other surveys have suggested for a while. Although the UK is leaving the EU, with many proponents of Brexit citing greater control of borders as a motivating factor, Brits have become distinctly more positive about immigration.

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