Since we’ll probably be getting some new polling data on public perceptions of this asylum seeker business over the next week or so, it might be worth having a quick squiz back at the most recent data. There was some stuff in Newspoll back in 2004 sometime that keeps getting mentioned – but that’s a bit too far in the distant past for my liking to be relevant. Thankfully though, Essential Report had some polling on this in July-August last year using a sample of 1013 for a margin of error around the 3% mark.
It will be interesting to see if that general thrust of public opinion has changed much in the intervening 7 months – although I’d be surprised if it would have changed greatly, if at all.
One of the more mundane and nonsensical arguments that ooze from the wingnut right over this issue is the allegation that anyone that believed Howard’s Pacific Solution was inhumane and/or a waste of money, was somehow wanting to “open the floodgates” for refugees to descend on Australia like some rampaging horde. But as we can see, even though around a quarter of the public believed that Australia’s mandatory detention policies of the past were too tough, only 6% of the public believed that the current refugee intake was too small.