Welsh public opinion divided on what the UK Government’s response to the refugee issue should be

Opinion in Wales is split on how many refugees should be accepted into the UK, according to our latest opinion poll carried out in September for the Western Mail.

Almost half (46%) of the Welsh population are of the opinion the UK should accept a proportionate share of refugees, as agreed with other European Union (EU) countries, while another 3% go further and would like to see the UK accept all the refugees who want to come here. In contrast, a third of the Welsh population (33%) feel the UK should accept only a relatively small number of refugees, if necessary without the agreement of other EU countries, and a further one in six (16%) don’t want the UK to accept any refugees at all.



There are marked differences in views among the Welsh population on the issue by social grade. Nearly six in ten (57%) of ABC1s (or the middle classes) feel the UK should accept a proportionate share of refugees or take all refugees that wish to come here, compared with just over four in ten (41%) of C2DEs (or the working classes) saying that. In fact twice as many C2DEs as ABC1s are of the opinion the UK should accept no refugees at all (at 21% compared with 10% respectively).

Differences in views are also evident by region. Those living in Cardiff and South East Wales are most likely to support the UK taking a proportionate share of refugees or indeed all refugees wishing to come here (at 59% compared with 49% saying this across Wales), whilst those in Mid / West and North Wales are least likely to be of this opinion and in contrast, most likely to say the UK should accept no refugees (at 19% and 22% in each area, compared with 16% across Wales).

Beaufort Research Managing Director Fiona McAllister said “It’s interesting to see such marked differences in views on the refugee issue across different parts of Wales. It’s also worth noting that those who are most receptive to the idea of taking in refugees are those people who live in the more densely-populated and multi-racial areas of Wales (that is, Cardiff and South East Wales), who are therefore more likely to already have immigrants living in their communities”.

The sample of over 1,000 adults across Wales questioned in September 2015 was asked the following question:

There has been lots of news coverage recently about people from other countries seeking to enter the UK. These include refugees trying to escape persecution in their home countries as well as migrants looking for better living conditions and work opportunities.

For the purposes of this question we’d like you to focus on refugees seeking to enter the UK, that is those wanting to escape persecution and whose lives might be at risk if they stay in their home country.

Q: Which one of these statements most closely represents your view of what the UK Government’s response to this issue should be?

  • The UK should accept all the refugees who want to come here
  • The UK should accept a proportionate share of refugees, as agreed with other European Union countries (that is, a fair proportion relative to the size and population of the UK, compared with other countries)
  • The UK should accept a relatively small number of refugees, if necessary without the agreement of other European Union countries
  • The UK should accept no refugees
  • Don’t know
 

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