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Swiss torn on presence of foreigners: poll

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09:20 CEST+02:00

Nearly one in two Swiss believes there are too many foreigners in the country, but 80 percent say Switzerland would not be as economically successful without them, according to a poll published on Sunday.

The poll in the Swiss weekly Sonntags Blick showed that 48 percent of respondents think there are "too many" or "far too many" foreigners in Switzerland, up from 42 percent in a similar poll conducted in November 2010.  

The figure fell to 40 percent among Swiss between the ages of 18 to 34, but rose to 53 percent among respondents over the age of 54.  

However, 80 percent of those polled said Switzerland's economy "would not be as successful" without the large presence of foreigners, which according to the Swiss statistical office reached 21.7 percent of the country's population in 2009.  

Belief in the importance of foreign workers for the economy showed a clear split along ideological lines, with 94 percent of Socialist Party voters saying their presence had positive economic benefits, a figure which fell to 56 percent among voters of the far-right Swiss People's Party.  

The newspaper did not specify how many people were interviewed for the survey.

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