Immigration has quickly sailed up to the top of the most important issues in Sweden following last year's record influx of asylum seekers, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports.
Doubling its score since June last year, 40 percent of the 1,226 respondents said that it is now the most important issue, trumping both education and the labour market by more than 20 percentage points.
Six months ago, immigration was ranked the third most important question by the same polling institute and Johanna Laurin Gulled, analyst at the polling institute Ipsos who carried out the survey, says that the increase is quite remarkable.
"You don't see these dramatic changes very often. This is the biggest change that we've ever seen when it comes to a single issue," Laurin Gulled says to Dagens Nyheter.
Political scientist Magnus Hagevi says that the increased interest in immigration most likely stems from the fact that over 160,000 people sought refugee in Sweden last year.
"It is not surprising that people become more interested in immigration issues when the number of asylum seekers go up from 80,000 to 160,000 in one year," Hagevi says.
Hagevi shares the view that immigration is the most important issue right now, and adds that it has been that way for a while.
"This figure is an all-time-high, and while it is difficult to say if 40 percent of Swedes actually believe that immigration is the most important issue right now, it is safe to say that this is the dominating issue," Hagevi says.
The respondents were also asked which party has the best immigration policy, which was topped by the Sweden Democrats at 21 percent followed by the Social Democrats at 17 percent.
Despite a recent series of more restrictive proposals, the support for the Moderate Party's immigration policy remained the same as six months ago, at 13 percent.