Professor Matthew Goodwin was speaking out after a new poll for GB News showed that over half of the public think immigration into the UK is too high.
He said: “I think it's interesting, on the one hand, after the Brexit referendum, we saw a bit of a relaxation in public attitudes on migration, and that was partly because of two things.
“One is people on the remain side became more supportive of immigration, and people on the leave side often felt more relaxed about immigration because they felt they had finally got this control and immigration was going to be lowered.
“What we see today, I think, are still quite elevated levels of concern over this issue, particularly now after the pandemic, as the numbers have gone back up to over half a million.
“Today, in my mind at least, there’s still a clear majority of the country that feels that migration is too high and only about one in 20 people feel that it's too low. So immigration is is still very much at the front and centre of British politics.”
Professor Matthew Goodwin
Prof Goodwin was commenting after a GB News opinion poll this week revealed how 54% of voters nationally believe that immigration is too high.
Overall, 33% of the country think there is a need for a new political party to campaign for lower levels of immigration, rising to 57% of people who voted Leave in 2016.
The survey of 1,208 adults was carried out by PeoplePolling, a member of the British Polling Council (BPC).
He added: “If you ask people do you think actually there should be a political party that specifically campaigns to lower immigration into the country, about a third of the country say they would be open to that kind of party, more than half of Brexit voters would be open to it.
“Ultimately, what this comes down to is the fact that still lots of people feel that when you look at the main parties, there is this big consensus that basically the record levels that we now have achieved under a Conservative government.
“There is a suspicion or scepticism that those numbers would change under Labour, given the legacy of New Labour. And I think that's why now you're beginning to see parties like Reform are up a little bit in the opinion polls, they're up an average of 6%."
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Monday November 28, 2022.
He said: “In the polls, you're beginning to see a really big chunk of those 2019 Conservatives now saying they're not really going to vote for anybody in the next election.
“So this apathy, this sense of disillusionment over where we've come to in British politics, after all of the promise in the eyes of many people from that referendum I think it has led us here, which is the strong appetite for something different.”