The number of Swedes who want to see far fewer asylum seekers enter the country has doubled since 2015 to nearly half of the voting population.
A poll conducted by Ipsos found that the general Swedish attitude toward taking in large numbers of asylum seekers had radically changed since the height of the 2015 migrant crisis when only two out of ten people were for reducing the number, Dagens Nyheter reports.
“This is a dramatic change, not least because it has been so fast,” said professor of Political Science Marie Demker who teaches at the University of Gothenburg.
Along with the increase in the number of voters who wanted more restrictive asylum policies, the number of Swedes demanding more asylum seekers also greatly decreased from 26 per cent to only 12 per cent.
David Ahlin of Ipsos said that the results showed Swedish voters were becoming increasingly polarised, especially along political party lines.
Professor Demker said there was also a marked difference in attitudes toward asylum seekers from Swedes of different educational backgrounds with more university educated voters seeing themselves as being part of a globalised world while more working-class voters were less open to asylum seekers.
“The question of refugees becomes an exponent of this contradiction, its own ideological universe that puts these questions at its peak. And in this context, nationalism becomes a relevant ideology,” Demker said.
Many populist candidates in recent years have seen a surge in support from working-class voters dissatisfied with traditional left-wing social democratic parties.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 18, 2016
In France, workers in Calais flocked to former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, while working-class Austrians were found to increasingly support Freedom Party (FPÖ) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer in 2016. Workers in both countries largely attributed the negative effects of globalisation to their new support for populist candidates.
The changing views on immigration are likely to give more support to the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD) which were firmly for more restrictive asylum policies during and after the migrant crisis. Recent polls show the SD polling in second place just behind the ruling Social Democrats ahead of the national election slated for later in the year.
Sweden, YouGov poll:
S-S&D: 23% (-1)
M-EPP: 20% (+1)
C-ALDE: 9% (+1)
V-LEFT: 9% (+1)
L-ALDE: 4% (-1)
KD-EPP: 3% (-1)
Field work: 13/04/18 – 16/04/18
Sample size: 1,545
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) April 20, 2018