Dodgy Scanlon Foundation survey underplays immigration backlash

By Leith van Onselen

While almost all recent opinion polls show the majority of Australians want immigration to be lowered, including:

  • Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
  • Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
  • Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
  • Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
  • Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year; and
  • CIS: 65% in the highest decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up.

The Scanlon Foundation has released its 2018 Mapping Social Cohesion Report, which claims that a small majority of Australians support immigration at its current level:

Of the 1500 people interviewed for the annual survey, about 43 per cent thought immigration was “too high” — an increase of nine per cent compared to two years ago.

But a majority of 52 per cent still thought immigration was “about right” or “too low”.

Report author Professor Andrew Markus of Monash University said… “The central message is, even though there are heightened concerns, immigration is not something that should be abandoned.”

Concerns about immigration also appear to be linked to other issues.

About 54 per cent were concerned about the impact of immigration on overcrowding in Australian cities, 50 per cent were concerned about the impact of immigration on house prices and 48 per cent had a negative view of the way Australian governments were managing population growth.

I love the strawman argument used by Andrew Markus: “immigration is not something that should be abandoned”. Nobody – not even Pauline Hanson – is calling for immigration to be abandoned. Rather, opponents to a ‘Big Australia’ just want immigration lowered to something more akin to historical norms:

It must also be noted that there are question marks about the methodology used by Scanlon, when compared against the other surveys, as explained by the Australian Population Research Institute (APRI) last year:

  • The TAPRI survey was completed online by a random sample of 2057 voters, (with quotas set with a 10% leeway, in line with ABS distributions for age, gender and location). The sample was drawn from a panel of 300,000. Thus, TAPRI used the same methodology as is now employed by Newspoll and by Essential Media.
  • The Scanlon poll was based on a telephone sample of 1,500 Australian residents drawn from the entire population of residents. It therefore included many respondents who are not citizens and therefore not eligible to vote.
  • There are significant issues concerning the reliability of telephone interviews when probing  sensitive issues. As the highly credible Pew Research polling organisation has indicated, respondents may be more likely to provide socially undesirable responses in the relative anonymity of the internet.
  • Scanlon found a much larger share of respondents favoured a reduction in immigration numbers in a different online survey that it funded which used methodology similar to that used by TAPRI. In the telephone survey 37% said that immigration was too high.  In contrast, 50% of this online sample agreed that the immigration intake was too high, rising to 53% when the findings were limited to those who were Australian citizens. This result is almost identical to the TAPRI finding.

So, Scanlon’s survey captures the views of migrant non-citizens that are ineligible to vote. It is also conducted via telephone, where honest answers are less likely because of fears of being labelled as ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobic’.

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  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    This is not rocket science, but both sides of politics dont get it.

    Opening sentence…….

    ‘Australians have stepped up their concerns about immigration at the same time they have lost confidence in government’

    Immigration and crowding concerns rise, but Australians still back multiculturalism: survey

    • The government doesn’t require your confidence, nor that of any other citizen, and as long as both sides follow the same playbook, there is nothing you can do about it.

      • Too right. Australian democracy and its taxpayers suffer from a policy where ‘Stink Tanks’ produce ‘fake news’ that is fed as copy into the media owned by the same vested interests. They sanitise propaganda so that it seems to be ‘independent’ However their publications are not independently peer reviewed and are clearly produced via ideological gatekeeping. Why on earth should the public pay via a tax break for Stink Tanks to screw us over and molest the information that infects the democratic process? How on earth do we arrive at a situation where developers (Scanlon) end up running tax deductible propaganda machine to produce fake news for the MSM that dovetails with their self interest?

        Think tanks main-line the crap injected into the veins of our discredited media. At the very least they should pay full tax on the ‘product’ they produce to help sell dog boxes and debt.

    • Of course they have blurred the line between ‘multiculturalism’, ‘mass immigration’ and ‘sustainability’ and wish to keep it blurred in the public’s mind.

      These cynical turds are the masters of the false dichotomy. e.g. if you like babies and think motherhood is a wonderful thing how could any woman ever want to use contraception? (brain dead stuff that is still used by the religious right).

      Ipso facto, if you like multiculturalism how could we ever have too much immigration? (same illogic)

      If you want to limit immigration, you must not like immigrants – therefore you are a racist. (pathetic)

      How can people stand to be patronised by this crap?

      Some place out there in a hard drive is a cynical ‘media strategy’ prepared by a set proclaimed genius ex-Fairfax journalist for the Scanlon Group. My bet is that his first name sounds like ‘Anus’ and his surname very much like ‘Bollox’ and that gives everyone a hint about from what region of his anatomy his spin comes from.

      NB. If anyone working in the Scanlon Foundation has started to be troubled by the destruction of Australian society and would like to drop said media strategy ‘off the back of a truck’ I’m sure that MB would treat it as confidential and protect your identity.

    • And not opened a section for comments, which as I said elsewhere, is current practice at the Grauniad for any story about population growth and mass immigration, no comments allowed

    • SBS news is pure hatred against the people who built and paid for the country they now exploit

    • Hey, according to SBS – if you’re whìte, straìght, màle you’re already guilty of ràpe of all the wimin and mother earth and you should give yourself in to the closest police station.

      Sooooo… me thinks you’ve got a lot of things going against you there.

  2. It’s interesting to see how the ABC is giving uncritical publicity to a dodgy survey. It’s as if they want to lull readers into a feeling of mellow security about immigration on the basis that most people are pretty much OK with it. I see also that the survey was conducted by people employed by Monash University – an institution that greatly benefits from large numbers of immigrants whether temporary or permanent. Vested interests much.

  3. Scanlon doesn’t have the weight it used to. Political pressures are driving force now. Not going to shift the dial.

  4. This is the second Fairfax survey they have published which is at variance with the rest of the polls. The other one was the recent IPSOS poll. At least Fairfax allow a comments section unlike the gutless Guardian which has closed down discussion on any article about population

    • ErmingtonPlumbing

      I can’t believe I almost subscribed to them once,….what an Idiot I was!
      I like some of their writers like Thoms Frank, but the general tenor of their rag is just to Anti Western and Anti Wyite

      • Scratch the surface and The Guardian is not that left wing, it is fake left. As I said previously it didn’t support Corbyn in either leadership contest in Britain = fake left

  5. So various media, including our ABC keep telling people how rich and lucky they are and refuse to broadcast any discontent. Get young people to be grateful to have insecure, low paying jobs and little chance of owning a home. Have them support policies that enable same. I thought people learned critical thinking when they studied humanities subjects. My error.

    • Yes, he’s pretty confident private jets can’t be fuelled without the pointless sugar hit that comes from a growing population. Innovation and real productivity are just too plain hard.