The media just loves the immigration debate, and Nick Robinson's programme tonight (The Truth About Immigration, 21:30 on BBC2) is proving the perfect hook. The programme includes our most recent British Social Attitudes finding that over 3 in 4 of us (77%) want to see a reduction in immigration. Such a high figure is of course newsworthy and yet, here at NatCen, we know that this is not a sudden trend. Since we first asked this question in 1995, when levels of immigration were relatively low, at least two-thirds of the population has consistently said that they would like to see a reduction in immigration. Politicians were out of step with the public back then, concerned that debating immigration would be seen as racist. Now they are prepared to talk openly about it, but are still struggling to keep up with the more complex nuances emerging.
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BSA, British Social Attitudes, immigration, politicians