From Iceland — Largest Portion Of Icelanders Believes Country Accepts Too Few Refugees

Largest Portion Of Icelanders Believes Country Accepts Too Few Refugees

Published September 8, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A new poll from Market and Media Research asked Icelanders whether they believe too many, too few or just enough refugees are granted asylum in Iceland. The largest share—39%—believe Iceland accepts too few, but there are stark differences when these demographics are broken by age and party affiliation. Meanwhile, about 70 refugees will be invited to Iceland in the near future, RÚV reports.

There were also some differences in the results as a whole between October 2020, when this question was last polled, and August 2021. The percentage of respondents who believe Iceland accepts too many went from 32% to 26%; the percentage who believe Iceland accepts enough held steady, at 35%; and the percentage who believe Iceland accepts to few went up, from 33% to 39%.

In terms of demographics, more men (30%) than women (21%) believe too many refugees are accepted, and more women (44%) than men (35%) believe too few are accepted.

Belief that too many are accepted increased with age, with those aged 68 or older comprising the largest portion (38%) of those who believe too many are accepted. Interestingly, this same age bracket was also slightly more likely (28%) to say there were too few accepted than those aged 50 to 67 (25%).

Very telling contrasts appear when it comes to party affiliation. Most voters for the Social Democrats (69%), the Pirate Party (65%), the Reform Party (57%), the Left-Greens (57%) and the Socialist Party (51%) believe Iceland accepts too few refugees. 27% of Socialist Party voters also believe Iceland accepts too many refugees, while 5% of Social Democrats; 8% of Pirates; 11% of Reform Party voters and 4% of Left-Greens said the same.

The largest portion of Progressive Party voters and Independence Party voters (46%, in both cases) believe Iceland is accepting just enough refugees. Most voters for the Centre Party (87%) and the People’s Party (59%) believe Iceland accepts too many, with only 7% and 3%, respectively, saying Iceland accepts too few.

As reported, Iceland will be officially accepting a number of refugees in the near future. RÚV reports that 39 refugees from Syria will arrive in Iceland today and tomorrow, with a similar number to arrive in the near future. These are people who were supposed to arrive last year, but were not admitted on account of pandemic restrictions.

Iceland usually accepts a small number of refugees each year. These are typically people in refugee centres in other countries who are expressly invited by the Icelandic state to live here, and although distinguished from asylum seekers—people who voluntarily come to Iceland in search of a new life—they are effectively the same people, in that they are displaced and in immediate danger of persecution or death in their home countries.

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