Sweden: Attitudes harden towards immigrants (and Jews)

One in four Swedes would be prepared to vote for a party that was in favour of restricting the rights of immigrants. And the number of people who strongly agree that they could envisage voting for such a party has risen from 5.7 to 7.3 percent, according to a survey carried out by the Swedish Integration Board.

"The recent media debate on the Sweden Democrats has probably made it more acceptable for people to express these sorts of party preferences,"José Alberto Diaz from the Integration Board told Dagens Nyheter.

Also, the proportion of those who strongly agreed with the statement that 'native Swedes should take precedence over immigrants when it comes to jobs, housing and benefits' has increased from 12 to 14 percent.

Attitudes towards Sweden's Muslims and Jewish communities have hardened somewhat since 2006.

In 2007, 58 percent rejected the idea of limiting Muslim immigration, compared to 61 percent last year.

There were also fewer respondents who strongly disagreed that 'Jews have too much influence in Sweden', down from 67 percent last year to 64 percent in 2007.

"The large number of negative results is surprising as the results of previous surveys had pointed in the other direction. The question is whether this is temporary or the beginning of a new type of change in attitudes," said José Alberto Diaz.

Source: The Local (English)

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