Nearly all Icelanders want more refugees, but opinion is still divided over how many. Meanwhile, several small towns and villages have joined in pledging more space for refugees.
According to the results of the latest poll from Market and Media Research, 88.5% of respondents said that Iceland should welcome more refugees, while 11.5% said the border should be closed to them. However, a closer look shows public opinion is still divided over just how many asylum seekers Iceland should accept.
When asked how many refugees Iceland should accept, the largest percentage amongst those willing to accept asylum seekers – 19.1% – chose “up to 50”, which was the government’s original proposal. By contrast, the second-largest percentage – 14.8% – said Iceland should take in “more than 2,000”. This was followed close behind by “up to 500” (14.5%), “up to 150” (14%), and “up to 250” (10.7%).
Demographically, there was a distinct pattern by age – the older an Icelander, the less likely they were to want to accept greater numbers of refugees. Income level did not make much difference, apart for those making less than 250,000 ISK per month, who were the most likely to say that Iceland should accept no refugees at all.
Party affiliation showed more dynamic contrasts. Voters for the ruling coalition – the Progressives and the Independence Party – had the highest percentage of those who want no refugees, or no more than the government-proposed quota of 50. By comparison, no voters for Bright Future said that Iceland should not accept refugees, and they had the largest percentage of those who believe Iceland should accept more than 2,000 refugees, or 36%. Amongst Pirate Party voters, the largest percentage of them – 25% – also believe Iceland should take in more than 2,000 refugees.
The poll results come in the wake of recent announcements from other towns and villages that they want to take in more refugees. Hafnarfjörður, citing good experiences with refugees they previously brought in, wants more. The rural community of Borgarbyggð will also be in contact with the Ministry of Welfare about accepting more refugees, as will Ísafjörður and the village of Súðavík (pop. 212).
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