Greeks most opposed to foreigners, poll finds

A recent poll conducted by TNS ICAP and the Gallup International Association showed that views on migration are split. Of those questioned, 47 percent see migration as a bad thing, while 43 percent see it as good. Greeks displayed the most negative attitude in Western Europe toward migration, with 65 percent believing that immigration harmed Greece. Next were the Germans, with 62 percent against immigration, Irish (64 percent) and Swiss (54 percent). According to the MRB poll, 53.8 percent of Greeks are very or rather bothered by the presence of people from different ethnic groups in Greece, while 42 percent believe that the employment of foreign workers probably or certainly does not help the Greek economy to develop. And 68 percent are not very or not at all satisfied with the measures taken to deal with immigration. The MRB poll found the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) had the electoral support of 3.9 percent, which is line with figures from other recent surveys (V-PRC, Metron and RASS). Results for the other two small parties were similar: the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.3 percent and Synaspismos Left Coalition (SYN) with 3.4 percent. The poll notes that increased support for smaller parties results from what the public sees as the country’s difficult economic situation. The most serious problems are seen to be unemployment (68 percent) and inflation (63.4 percent). Of the sample, 59 percent believe that things are going rather or very badly for Greece, while 61.8 percent believe that Greece’s economic situation is bad or very bad. To the question: «What are Greece’s three most serious problems?» 10 percent of respondents who said they had voted for the ruling New Democracy party said drugs, 10 percent migrants, and 9.9 percent said issues of transparency and corruption. Among ND voters, 55.9 percent were rather or very bothered by the presence of economic migrants, compared with 54.8 percent of PASOK voters, 37.17 percent of KKE voters and 35 percent of SYN voters. Of those who were rather or very bothered by the presence of economic migrants, 62.1 percent either did not vote or were not enrolled to vote in the last elections and 53.2 percent refused to say how they had voted. As the poll reveals, 40.6 percent of ND voters believe that migrants probably or certainly have not helped the Greek economy to develop, an opinion shared by 42.3 percent of PASOK voters, 39.9 percent of SYN voters and 39.2 percent of those who either did not vote or were not enrolled to vote in 2004. Bothered by foreigners It is striking that 46.3 percent of those who did not say how they voted in 2004 see immigrants as a negative factor in the Greek economy. This negative reaction to migrants among those who did not vote or did not say how they voted is borne out by a recent Eurostat survey on migrants, which confirms that there is «a reservoir of hidden public opinion» that is more opposed to anti-discrimination policies than is generally apparent. Typical of the ambivalence of Greek feelings about migrants is the result of another poll conducted by MetronAnalysis where 44 percent of the sample said that migrants should have the right to vote in the next municipal elections, against 47 percent who believe that they should not have the right to vote. Eight EU member states (Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Austria and Portugal) grant the right to vote in municipal elections to all migrants regardless of their place of origin, and in some countries they are entitled to vote in parliamentary elections.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.