Swedish support for migrants falls: poll

migrantA growing number of Swedes want their country to take in fewer migrants, a poll showed on Monday, as Sweden struggles to manage an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers.

The poll by Sifo, published in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, found 41 percent said Sweden should grant fewer residency permits to refugees — compared to just 29 percent in September.

Of the 1,000 people questioned on November 2-5, a quarter wanted the number to remain at current levels, while 17 percent wanted an increase and 16 percent were undecided.

Sweden has taken more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe as the continent struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War II, expecting up to 190,000 asylum seekers this year.

“When we polled opinion in September, the developments and the debate were completely different. Today the prime minister (Stefan Lofven) is asking to redistribute (in the European Union) the refugees who have come here,” said Toivo Sjoren, head of polling at Sifo.

An Ipsos poll published on Saturday in Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper similarly indicated a shift in attitudes, suggesting 26 percent think the Scandanavian country should welcome more migrants, down from 44 percent in September.

Men and right-wing voters tended to take more negative views of migrants, with 96 percent of the far-right Sweden Democrats’ supporters saying fewer should be granted residency.

Rising opposition to the newcomers can also be seen on social media.

According to a study conducted by Svenska Dagbladet, 35 percent of the most shared posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram containing the Swedish word for “refugees” expressed a negative opinion about the issue in October, compared to 21 percent in September.

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