The fear of refugees is largely grounded in socio-economic insecurities of people with low income and education level, found a poll commission by the Goverment Office. At the same time, the number of people who say that refugees deserve our help has increased since the last poll in July.
The poll, conducted by TNS EMOR in November, shows that whereas 53 percent of the respondents said that refugees should not be allowed to enter Estonia, every second answered that those in need must be helped and received in Estonia. That is 10 percent more than in July.
“The population is divided to two almost equal halves – those who are strongly opposed, and those who agree to accepting refugees in certain terms, whether out of compassion, solidarity or simply for its inevitability," analyst Aivar Voog said.
Views tend to differ along demographic lines, the poll showed. People from ethnic minorities are more likely to oppose accepting refugees to Estonia than native Estonians. Opposition rates are also higher among women and people with primary education. Men and people with higher education, on the other hand, are less likely to say that refugees pose a threat to the state of Estonia and its people.
According to the poll, many people are afraid that the refugees will not be able or willing to integrate to the Estonian society, form ghettos and drive up the crime rate.
It also determined that the opposition to refugees is largely grounded in the socio-political insecurities. People feel that the state should first help their own and only then offer support to others.
“Because they are in a tight spot, respondents with lower social security are afraid that helping refugees will increase their own problems,” Voog explained.
The poll studied people's views toward accepting refugees, and their concerns about the impacts this would have on the state and society, as well as peope's awareness of the topic and need for additional information. Data was gathered through phone interviews.
Editor: M. Oll