A new study by Ipsos MORI looking at how British attitudes towards immigration have changed over the long term and during election campaigns is published today. The report, “Shifting Ground”, combines existing data with new findings from a longitudinal study which followed voters during, throughout, and after the 2015 General Election campaign in order to track changes in individuals’ attitudes.
The study finds concerns about immigration have indisputably risen over the long term. The importance of immigration as an issue facing Britain on the Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index reached record levels in 2015, with 56% of the public mentioning it in September; the highest level ever recorded since the series started in the 1970s.
As well as growing concern overall, there were changes in the profile of people who are concerned about the issue. In particular, in the early 2000s there was relatively little difference between the oldest and youngest generations on concern about immigration, but in the last few years there is a growing generational divide with older generations having become much more concerned than younger generations.