A majority of Swedes, or 54 percent, want to change laws so that fewer people are given residence permits, according to the Svenska Dagbladet daily and pollster Sifo.
21 percent want Sweden to receive as many migrants as today, whereas another 10 percent would like to increase the intake. Another 14 percent were undecided.
The survey was conducted between 4 and 6 March, that is, after Turkey threatened to open its border with the EU for immigrants. However, public opinion has remained relatively stable, with approximately the same proportion of responses for and against immigration as those obtained in June 2017.
Sifo's opinion chief Toivo Sjörén argued that the 2015 migrant crisis still haunts the Swedes' attitudes.
“Many people still relate and talk about 2015, regardless of which political party they sympathise with. You return to previous refugee currents,” Sjörén told Svenska Dagbladet.
Economist Joakim Ruist, who specialises in immigration, echoed this sentiment. He also ventured that most people don't know how many asylum seekers Sweden actually receives or how the number has changed over the years. Instead, their response reflects something else, a “gut feeling” affected by major events such as the 2015 crisis.
“It becomes rather a general opinion whether refugee reception is good or bad, rather than an answer to a specific question” Ruist said.
Ruist also suggested that while Turkey's threat to “open the doors” ha yet to fully materialise, more people would like to see a reduced intake if it actually happened.
Since the 2015 migrant crisis, Sweden's attitude toward immigration has changed drastically. While Prime Minister Stefan Löfven explicitly declared “my Europe builds no walls” back in 2015, today he insists on the EU's external border being kept airtight.