Shifting Ground

Shifting Ground: 8 key findings from a longitudinal study on attitudes towards immigration and Brexit

This is a new report by Ipsos MORI, supported by Unbound Philanthropy, that sheds light on how the British public’s attitudes towards immigration change over time.

The longitudinal study, carried out during 2015 -2016, found that we are becoming more positive towards immigration, despite the majority of people still wanting levels reduced. The two last waves focused on immigration and Britain’s relationship with the EU. The final wave explored a wider set of social and political attitudes to explain why the public voted as they did in the 2016 referendum.

The key lessons are:

  1. People have become MORE positive about immigration in the last few years
  2. BUT the majority of people still want immigration reduced
  3. Those who are most open to immigration have been most stable in their views
  4. There are few demographic or attitudinal differences between those who’ve become more positive or negative about immigration
  5. Sovereignty and anti-immigrant feeling drove the EU referendum vote, but this is closely tied to a broader sense of distrust of the system and nostalgia
  6. BUT there is not one type of Leave or Remain voter, demographically or attitudinally
  7. Brexit has revealed new political fault lines – but other traditional party political divides remain
  8. The “system is broken” for a large majority of people – but it is when this sentiment is combined with a sense of personal threat that it affects behaviour 

Read the full report