Nearly half of Britons say that they associate European immigration with being a “drain on the welfare state” (47%). 44% associate European immigration with “overwhelming levels”.
More than four in five (82%) say they are concerned about Eastern European immigrants being eligible to receive benefits as soon as they arrive in Britain, including three in five (61%) who say they are very concerned. A similar number are concerned about immigrants increasing pressure on public services, such as local NHS services and schools (82%).
On the back of this, UKIP is thought to have the best policy on Eastern European immigration. A quarter of the British public (24%) back them on the issue, with the Conservatives and Labour both trailing on 15%.
The British public believe that Eastern European immigrants receive more in welfare and public services than they contribute in taxes (46%), with only one in seven saying they contribute more than they receive (14%).
More than half of Britons (57%) say that Eastern European immigration has had a negative impact on the welfare state.
There are also negative views towards the impact of Eastern European immigration on crime, with almost half (48%) of Britons saying crime levels have been negatively impacted.
Unemployment is also a major concern, half (51%) of Britons say that Eastern European immigration has had a negative impact, only one in ten (11%) say that it has had a positive impact.
ComRes interviewed 2,029 British adults online between 6th and 8th December 2013 and 2,058 British adults online between 13th and 15th December 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.