An annual attitudes survey conducted by a Swedish university has shown interest in migration has exploded in the past twelve months, making it the single greatest concern for voting age citizens.
In 2016, over half of Swedish citizens called immigration their most important electoral issue, according to research by the University of Gothenburg Society, Opinion, and Mass Media (SOM) institute. The survey has measured the state of feeling in Sweden every year since 1986, but has seen a “dramatic change” since the 2014 measure.
SOM Research director Henrik Oscarsson said of the change: “In 2015 27 per cent took migration as the most important social issue. By the latest measurement, migration is not the dominant issue for most Swedes. A whole 53 per cent call it so,” reports FriaTider.
Mr. Oscarsson said normally there were a number of issues vying for the top spot, but this year unusually one was well ahead of the others.
Although more people now see migration as an important issue, Swedish media reports on the findings stress this doesn’t actually show a hardening of attitudes towards mass migration. Sweden’s Göteborgs-Posten reports that opposition to refugees has consistently fallen over the near 30 year course of the survey.
In 2016 those wanting to take fewer refugees stands at 40 per cent, down from 43 in 2015. Difference of opinion is split in many respects along party lines, with approval for military action against the Islamic State highest among the Sweden Democrats and the centre-right Conservatives. Sweden Democrat voters are perhaps unsurprisingly the most opposed to immigration too.
Despite that, SOM professor of political science said the increasing acceptance of migrants showed in the nation’s “strong mobilisation of assistance for refugees”.
The support for migrants in Sweden is now so widespread and well established, deviance from that norm can cause significant trouble for individuals. Breitbart London reported on the suspension of one Swedish bus driver in March, who found himself out of work after making posts on his private Facebook account featuring jokes and articles about mass migration.
Although there was no indication any members of the public had ever seen the posts and there had never been any complaints about the driver, a spokesman for the local transit authority said they had suspended the driver because there was a “risk that passengers might not be treated equally”.
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