A new poll has revealed that a majority of Europeans want a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
The Chatham House study reports that an average of 55 per cent of people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries.
A ban was supported by 71 per cent of people in Poland, 65 per cent in Austria, 53 per cent in Germany and 51 per cent in Italy. In the UK, 47 per cent supported a ban. In no country did more than 32 per cent disagree with a ban.
The findings suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Donald Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.
Public opposition to further migration from Muslim states is especially intense in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium, despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations. With the exception of Poland, these countries have either been at the centre of the refugee crisis or experienced terrorist attacks in recent years. It is also worth noting that in most of these states the radical right is, to varying degrees, entrenched as a political force and is looking to mobilise this angst over Islam into the ballot box, either at elections in 2017 or longer term.
The findings also reveal how, across Europe, opposition to Muslim immigration is especially intense among retired, older age cohorts while those aged below 30 are notably less opposed. There is also a clear education divide – of those with secondary level qualifications, 59% opposed further Muslim immigration; by contrast, less than half of all degree holders supported further migration curbs.
Of those living in rural, less populated areas, 58% are opposed to further Muslim immigration, whereas among those based in cities and metropolitan areas just over half agree with the ban.
Opposition is also more prominent among “left behind” voters, with nearly two-thirds of those who feel they don’t have control over their own lives supporting the ban.
The Chatham House Europe Programme, with Kantar Public, surveyed nationally representative samples of the population aged 18 or over in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. Fieldwork was carried out online using quota sampling (age, gender and region) between 12 December 2016 and 11 January 2017. The total number of respondents was 10,195.