Half (51%) of UK adults say that the threat of deportation to Rwanda will make no difference to the numbers of migrants seeking to cross the Channel, according to a new poll conducted by Savanta.
This compares to a quarter (25%) who say that the policy will likely reduce the number of small boat crossings, and 13% who say it could increase them.
Conservative voters (37%) are more likely than Labour voters (16%) to say that the policy will reduce the numbers, including one in ten (10%) who say the policy will “drastically reduce” small boat crossings.
The poll, conducted over the weekend (10-12 November) and released ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the policy’s legality, finds a plurality of support for the scheme (47%), compared to a quarter (26%) who oppose. However, a majority (68%) of Conservative 2019 voters support the policy, with very few (13%) opposing.
Half say that they believe the scheme is legal (49%) and humane (47%), compared to a third who say they believe it is illegal (32%) and inhumane (33%).
A further two in five (42%) say the policy makes them proud to be British, including 63% of Conservative voters. Just under a third (31%) of all adults say that the scheme makes them ashamed to be British.
The questions asked in this poll are a repeat of those asked in June 2022. There were very few statistically significant differences from the data collected then to the data collected in this poll. For example, 47% said in June 2022 that the policy would make no difference to the numbers crossing the Channel (51% now), and 48% supported the policy in June 2022, including 66% of Conservative voters (47% and 68% now, respectively).
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said on Wednesday morning, “Despite a year of hyping what feels like one of the government’s flagship policies, there’s no movement whatsoever in public opinion regarding the Rwanda plan, according to this repeat of polling from June 2022.
“However, the good news for the government is that the policy is reasonably popular, with a plurality of support from the public, and a majority of support from those that voter Conservative in 2019.”
The proof, though, will be in the pudding, and the public will want to see the policy actually working, rather than a Supreme Court ruling, before they make their minds up on whether the Conservatives are handling immigration and small boats any better.
“That said, if the ruling goes against the government, it could cause deeper divisions within the party, particularly in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights, that will give Rishi Sunak’s critics on the right of his party even more ammunition after Suella Braverman’s sacking on Monday.”