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More Swedes ‘want increase in refugees'

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More Swedes ‘want increase in refugees'
Refugees arriving in Stockholm this month. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer / TT
16:04 CEST+02:00
44 percent of respondents in an opinion poll undertaken by Ipsos for Sunday's edition of Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, believe that Sweden should take more refugees - an increase of 18 percentage points since February.

In February, a similar Ipsos survey on attitudes to immigration and integration found that 36 percent of Swedes felt that the country should admit fewer refugees. The percentage of those who wanted to receive more then was just 26 percent.

However, the situation is now reversed.

When Ipsos repeated the question this month, 44 percent of the respondents said that more refugees should be taken in, an increase of 18 percentage points.

“It is not so common to see such very strong public opinion changes - this is a big increase,” says Nicklas Källebring, analyst at Ipsos.

"It is difficult to know exactly when the oscillation occurred, but it is likely that there is a trigger because it is an unusually large reversal. It is significant and occurs in all population groups. It shows what an impact the issue has made with people," Källebring.

Those that favour fewer refugees being offered asylum has dropped from 36 percent to 30 percent. 

The percentage of respondents who thought that the current number was about right dropped 13 points to 20 percent.

Another finding was that close to one in three Swedes are willing to host a refugee in their home.

The poll also showed that seven out of ten Swedes are worried about heightened xenophobia.

“It is interesting that it is very clear that people are more concerned about xenophobia than about increased immigration,” says Källebring.

Although many Swedes agree with the the government's position on refugees, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's administration does receive a rap on the knuckles from the poll.

59 percent of respondents believe the government can do more to help the refugees from Syria.

“It is obvious that there is a majority, even among the government's own voters, that think they can do more than they do. This is a clear criticism of the government,” says Källebring.

In recent years Sweden has taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other EU nation.

During 2015, the migration issue has become an increasingly hot topic in public debate in Sweden. 

The civil war in Syria and Isis terror in the region has displaced millions of people and the number of asylum seekers who have come to Sweden has increased for four consecutive years.

Critical voices have questioned whether Sweden can afford to host refugees at a time when public finances are stretched. 

There has also been concern about the impact of integrating so many migrants into the economy and labour market.

 
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