Swedes more positive to refugees: report

Opposition among Swedes to accepting refugees into the country has declined, a new report shows.

“The trend is that opposition to refugees is in decline,” said professor in political science Marie Demker to the news agency TT.

A new survey, to be published by the SOM institute at Gothenburg University in a couple of weeks, shows that the proportion of Swedes that think it is a good idea to accept fewer refugees has declined from 49 percent to 45 percent over the past year.

Marie Demker, who is responsible for the survey, says that the figures collated through the years indicate a gradual, steady decline.

“We had a significantly greater opposition in the beginning of the 1990s.”

She says that the results of the new survey can be considered somewhat unexpected considering the advance of a party such as the far-right Sweden Democrats, which advocates tighter restrictions.

The survey also indicates that factors such as education, age and place of residence also affect attitudes towards refugees.

For example 57 percent of those who lack high school (gymnasium) or university education consider it a good idea to accept fewer refugees. Among those with higher education only 28 percent agree with the statement.

“Education is the single strongest explanatory factor to attitudes regarding the acceptance of refugees,” Marie Demker said.

The full report from the SOM institute will be published on July 7th.

The survey involved 6,000 people interviewed during the autumn of 2008.

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