How do people react to the truth on immigration?

When asked to guess what proportion of people in this country are immigrants, people on average greatly over-estimate the true number. But what do people who get the number much too high then say when the truth is pointed out to them?

Here’s what they say:

Reasons for over-estimating immigration figures - polling data

So over half stick with their wrong belief (hello, pessimism). But it’s a long way short of everyone saying ‘nah, my beliefs trump the evidence you’ve given me’ (hello, optimism).

It’s a good example of how the problem with people believing fake news can be hugely overdone. One quick wave of the truth on immigration (or indeed any matter) doesn’t kill a myth. Yet myths can be killed and attitudes can be changed – with consistent, skillful and sustained effort.

Taken from “How does politics affect perceptions of place? The effect of campaigns on perceptions about immigration” by Jack Bowers, Ed Fieldhouse, Jane Green and Cara Wong.

2 responses to “How do people react to the truth on immigration?”

  1. Like any other debate it depends on the meaning of words. Many people believe there is a high level of immigration because of what they see. As one person said to me “what do you mean there are not many immigrants in this area. Why don’t you open your eyes?”
    So what are they seeing?

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