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Majority Wants to Welcome Refugees

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Majority Wants to Welcome Refugees

Syrian refugees on the border of Lebanon, 2014

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A majority of Icelanders want to take in Syrian refugees and the country’s prime minister says we could know as early as tomorrow how many there will be.

A new poll conducted by Maskína states that 56-57 percent of respondents were enthusiastic for Iceland to accept Syrian refugees in the coming months, while 22 percent were against the idea, mbl.is reported.

According to the poll, women are more likely to be welcoming towards refugees than men. Younger respondents are more positive than older. Reykjavík is more open-armed than other parts of the country. And university educated people are more likely to welcome refugees than those with less education.

Supporters of the Left Green Movement (over 70 percent) are the most likely to support welcoming refugees, with supporters of the Social Democrats and the Pirate Party also very positive; while supporters of the ruling Progressive Party are the least likely (22 percent).

More than three-in-ten respondents are very worried that Iceland will accept ‘too many’ immigrants, while 13-14 percent of respondents had no such worries at all. Overall, 45 percent of respondents had little or no worries in that regard.

The poll findings support another recent survey by MMR which suggested that as many as 90 percent of respondents would welcome Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told RÚV that he hopes it will be known how many Syrian refugees Iceland will accept in its first allocation as early as tomorrow (Friday). He says it is not yet possible to talk about an overall total figure, but that the first allocation will likely involve some dozens of people.

Iceland had initially offered to take a total of 50 Syrian refugees, but public support has meant that figure could now top 500 or more.

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