The Economist/ Ipsos January 2016 Issues Index – concern about immigration returns to prominence while the EU rises up the agenda to the highest point since 2005.
The January 2016 Issues Index shows that, after an absence of one month, concern about immigration has returned to the top of the list of the most important issues facing Britain. Approaching half (46%) of the public mention this issue. This is an increase of six percentage points from last month, though concern peaked at 56% three months prior to that. For a quarter (25%) it is the single most important issue facing the country.
The oldest are more likely to be concerned compared with the youngest – 57% of those aged 65+ are concerned compared with just 35% of 18-24 year olds. Concern also reaches 52% amongst those in the South East compared with just 35% of Londoners.
Nearly two fifths (38%) of the public mention the NHS, an increase of four percentage points since December, though , in the last decade, concern peaked at 47% in April 2015. With little change since last June, a quarter (26%) mention the economy, and a similar percentage (23%) mention defence/foreign affairs/terrorism, though this is a volatile trend, and concern has fallen 19 percentage points since last month, in the wake of the Paris terror attacks and the parliamentary vote on action in Syria. However, concern is still high compared to an aggregated figure of16% last year.
Seventeen percent are concerned about the issues of poverty/inequality, housing and education/schools. A further 16% mention Europe/EU, the highest percentage to do so since June 2005. Concern about this issue varies widely by social grade, from just 2% of DEs to 30% of ABs, and from 8% of those aged 25-34 to 26% of those aged 65+.
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 1,011 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The questions are spontaneous - i.e. respondents are not prompted with any answers. Ipsos's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 7-20th January in 177 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.