Two in five (41%) supported the Rwanda plan when it was first announced in April, according to data from Savanta ComRes for the Independent.
The poll, conducted over the weekend of the 22-24 April, showed that support for the policy appeared to come from Conservative quarters, where 60% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 backed it, compared to just a quarter of Labour (26%) and Liberal Democrat (23%) voters.
Almost half (48%) thought the plan would be effective in deterring people smugglers from trying to get asylum seekers, refugees and migrants into the UK, although two in five (40%) thought the plan would be ineffective.
However, despite the overall net support, the polling also tells us that the public saw flaws in the Rwanda scheme. Two thirds (67%) said that it’s likely that most of the migrants who end up in Rwanda will attempt to leave and return to Europe, and only 44% said that most of those migrants will end up living in acceptable conditions in Rwanda.
Similarly, a significant 42% say that it’s unlikely that the plan will drastically reduce the numbers of migrants arriving in the UK by small boats across the Channel, and a similar proportion (41%) say that it’s unlikely to reduce the amount of money spent by the UK in dealing with such issues.
The overall level of support represented a reduction of seven percentage points from the proportion that said they supported the policy (48%) in a snap reaction poll, conducted for the Daily Mail a week prior.
The Daily Mail poll, conducted on April 14th, found that almost half (48%) thought the plan would be effective in deterring people smugglers from trying to get asylum seekers, refugees and migrants into the UK, although two in five (40%) thought the plan would be ineffective.
This poll also found that 47% believed that the policy represents bad value for money to the UK taxpayer, including 36% of Conservative voters.
Polling in December found that two thirds (68%) of UK adults said that the government have handled the migrant crisis badly.
Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says,
“This collection of polling on the migrant crisis and the Rwanda plan tends to imply that the policy has had the impact on perceptions that the Government’s critics thought it may; that the plan will not necessarily stop migrants trying to cross the channel and that the cost of the plan does not present value for money.”
“However, on the Government’s side, the proposal does have net support, and therefore it seems that having a plan, even with flaws, is better in public opinion terms than appearing to have no plan at all.”