Concern about crime and immigration increase, while worry about Brexit remains high

The March 2019 Issues Index shows that public concern about Brexit remains at historically high levels while public concern about crime has risen substantially since February.

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
Get in touch
  • Close to seven in ten members of the public see Brexit as one of the biggest issues facing the country
  • Twenty-nine per cent of the public cite crime as a worry, an increase of eight points from February and the highest level since 2011
  • The proportion concerned about immigration rebounds from 15 % to 21%

As MPs continue to debate the nature of Britain’s exit from the European Union, the March Issues Index shows that public concern about Brexit remains at historically high levels. Sixty-eight per cent of the public mention Britain’s departure from the EU as a big issue for the country, close to last month’s tally of 71%. More than half of the public – 52% – say that Brexit is the single biggest issue for the country. This is one of the highest levels of concern on this measure in the past few decades, although below last month’s score of 59%.

While the NHS continues as the second-biggest worry for Britons, there has been a significant fall in the proportion mentioning it: 32% this month, a nine-percentage point decrease from February.

Public concern about crime has risen substantially this month: 29% of the public say that issues related to crime are one of the biggest problems for the country, up from 21% in February. This is the highest level of worry about crime since the riots in England in 2011 (31% in August 2011). There has also been an increase in concern about immigration, which has risen to 21% from 15% last month.

Ipsos issues Index - March 2019 top ten

The higher level of public concern about crime recorded this month varies by age, region and politics:

  • Conservative supporters are significantly more likely than supporters of the Labour party to mention crime as a big issue for the country (38% versus 21%)
  • Worry is also higher among older people, with 34% of the over 55s concerned compared with 31% of 35-54 year olds and 20% of the under 34s

Unlike previous spikes in worry about crime which have been centred on cities, London stands out as being the least concerned region, with 24% mentioning crime as a big worry. Although it remains Londoners’ second-highest concern this month the level of worry has fallen five percentage points since February (29%). By contrast, concern about crime among those living in the south east of England has doubled over the past month, rising from 18 per cent in February to 35 per cent for March.
Concern about crime: demographic dashboard



Technical note 

Ipsos's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 972 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers. 
Ipsos's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 1 and 13 March 2018 at 171 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
See more of Ipsos's long-term political and social trends here.



The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight