The Refugee Crisis and what the UK thinks

Refugee Crisis – the UK’s views

Today’s refugee crisis is the largest we have seen since World War II, and has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan and poverty stricken countries such as Eritrea. Opinium ran two polls in August (when the talk on refugees was rather negative) and September (with the talk shifting to a more humanitarian light) to understand how the UK feels about the crisis and whether these views have changed with the growing crisis.

The UK appears to have developed a more humanitarian outlook on aiding the refugees. In August, two in five (40%) UK adults agreed that the UK has a moral obligation to take in refugees and migrants, increasing by almost a fifth to 58% in September. The idea that a willingness to help refugees and migrants is part of being British has also increased from just over half (55%) of UK adults in August to almost seven in ten (68%) in September.

Shifting views on the crisis

There has also been a shift in our political intonations. The idea that the UK is lacking space, and that the government is too soft on refugees and migrants has changed since August. Last month, four in five (79%) UK adults said that we lack the space to accept more refugees and migrants. Although a minor change, a month later this has decreased slightly to seven in ten (71%). The government being too soft on refugees and migrants has also decreased from three-quarters (76%) in August to 67% in September.

There are some views, however, that have changed very little. For example the UK’s view on whether we do more than most countries when it comes to helping migrants and refugees. In August, a total of three quarters (76%) agreed with this falling slightly in September (72%). There was also very little change when we asked UK adults whether immigration is putting our national identity at risk, where seven in ten (70%) agreed with this in August and 67% said the same in September.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,003 UK adults. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. The research was conducted from 4th to 8th September 2015.