The poll was conducted by YouGov, one of the UK's best known and largest polling organisations, for UK newspaper The Sunday Times. A sample of people were asked what proportion of immigrants they thought made a positive contribution to British life;
• 45% thought that half or more than half had made a positive contribution.
• 46% said that they thought fewer than half had made a positive contribution.
• 9% said that they did not know.
When asked whether they would support measures that would limit the right of people who had arrived in the UK within a certain time period, such as a year, to benefits;
• 86% said that they would support such measures.
• Only 7% said they would oppose them.
• 7% said they did not know.
Similarly, when asked if they would like to see the right of recently arrived immigrants to use the National Health Service;
• 75% of those surveyed said that they would like to see the right limited
• 16% said they would not and
• 9% said they did not know.
We're all in this together
YouGov co-owner Peter Kellner says that this is not so much a sign that the UK population dislikes immigrants and immigration but much more a sign that it believes, particularly in a time of national economic difficulty, that only those who contribute to the public finances should be entitled to access public services.
Writing for the UK version of the global political news website, The Huffington Post, Mr Kellner said 'YouGov research has shown consistently that people … like the broad idea of the contributory principle – that people should pay in when they can and obtain help when they need it... Immigration is only one facet of this debate; scroungers, cheats, individual and corporate tax avoiders… also play their part.'
The poll showed that the people who thought least favourably of immigrants and immigration tended to support UKIP or the Conservative Party but even those who believed that most immigrants made a positive contribution to British life believed that benefits should be limited for new arrivals.
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