POSTMEDIA NEWS AUGUST 5, 2011
Nearly half the respondents to a groundbreaking global poll believe immigration has had a negative impact on their countries, according to results released Thursday by Ipsos.
And while Canadians have a relatively upbeat attitude on immigration, only a minority of Canadians polled - 39 per cent - viewed its impact as positive.
Forty-five per cent of the 17,601 respondents to the 23-country survey believe "immigration has generally had a negative impact on their country." Only 21 per cent believe immigration has had a positive effect. The rest - 29 per cent - are on the fence.
Thirty-five per cent of Canadians viewed immigration's effects as negative, while 26 per cent were either neutral or did not know.
Countries with the strongest negative opinions were Belgium (72 per cent) followed by South Africa (70 per cent), Russia (69 per cent), Great Britain (64 per cent) and Turkey (57 per cent).
Education made a big difference in respondents' attitudes. Educated Canadians topped the list of people most likely to view immigration positively. Sixty per cent of Canadians with higher levels of education believed its impact on their country was positive, "followed by their highly-educated counterparts in Australia (51 per cent), Saudi Arabia (47 per cent), Brazil (43 per cent), India (43 per cent), Sweden (39 per cent) and the United States (32 per cent)."
The results come at a time when many people seem to believe immigration rates are rising. Some 80 per cent of those surveyed believe that immigration has increased in their respective countries in the past five years.
Ipsos senior vice-president John Wright said he wasn't surprised by the results, given the social end economic tur-moil that has embroiled many of the countries surveyed.
Italy, for example, has dealt with a flood of migrants fleeing strife in Tunisia. Millions of migrants have headed to South Africa from neighbouring African states.
Wright said the survey was a "quick snapshot to find out where the world is" and Ipsos is providing details to academic institutions for study.
Most countries surveyed had more than 1,000 respondents. In those countries, the margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
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