In light of the recent migrant crisis in Europe and the ascendance of the anti-immigration Republican candidate Donald Trump in the United States public attitudes towards immigration will likely be a critical determining factor for the future of immigration policy in the Western world. Reactions to the influx of refugees in Europe have manifested in many different ways, from arson attacks on refugee centers in Germany  to the election of an anti-immigration party in Switzerland . But unfortunately, quantitative and systematic data on public opinion towards immigration since the migrant crisis began is scarce and because the crisis is ongoing, most likely volatile as well. In this case polling data on the migrant crisis will supplement pre-crisis polling data to gauge Western attitudes towards immigration.
A 2015 report published by the Global Migration Data Analysis Center used data from Gallup’s World Poll to gain insight into people’s attitudes towards the level of immigration into their country and whether they think it should be increased, decreased, or remain at present levels . Most of the responses were gathered between 2012 and 2013 so given the large shifts in immigration due to the recent refugee crisis this data should not be taken as precisely reflecting current attitudes but rather general differences between countries.
In Europe as a whole anti-immigration attitudes are the generally very prevalent, with 52% of respondents favoring decreased immigration, 30% favoring present levels, and only 8% favoring increased immigration. By region we see that Eastern, Southern, and Norther Europe (which is made up of Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the British Isles) are all relatively equal in their desire for decreased immigration while in Western European attitudes are more mixed with 35% favoring decreased levels of immigration, 45% favoring present levels, and 11% favoring increased immigration.