Economist/Ipsos August 2015 Issues Index

The August Economist Ipsos issues index shows that half (50%) the public mention immigration as among the most important issues facing Britain.

The Economist/ Ipsos August 2015 Issues index – concern about immigration is at the highest level ever recorded - half of the public now list it as a concern

The August Economist Ipsos issues index shows that half (50%) the public mention immigration as among the most important issues facing Britain. For a third (32%) it is the single most important issue facing the country. This measurment of 50% is an increase of 8 percentage points since July, and this represents the highest level of concern we have ever recorded about immigration – surpassing the 46% recorded in December 2007, as the migrant camps in Calais continue to dominate sections of the media. It is also the highest score we have recorded for any issue in over two years, since 51% mentioned the economy in July 2013.

Concern about immigration actually rises further amongst certain groups – to two thirds (66%) of Conservative voters, 64% of those aged 65 and over, and 61% of those in social grade C2. This compares with lower concern amongst ABs, those aged 25-34 and Labour voters, though around two fifths are still concerned (41%, 38% and 39% respectively). Looking at the results geographically, 57% mention immigration across Wales and the Midlands compared with just 29% in London.

Elsewhere, 37% mention the NHS as among the most important issues facing Britain, an increase of five percentage points since July, though concern did reach 47% in April of this year.

Around a quarter (27%) mention the economy, a figure largely unchanged since June, though this rises to 41% of ABC1s aged 18-34, among whom it is the most important issue facing Britain with a two percentage point lead over both immigration and the NHS.

Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of the Ipsos Social Research Institute, said:

“We have never seen concern about immigration this high, and when one single issue reaches 50% it tends to signify that the public perceive that is something which needs to be addressed urgently. We await to see whether this 50% figure becomes a high water mark, or if consistent media attention specifically focussed on Calais pushes concern beyond this level in months to come.”


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 1054 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 31st July- 9th August in 166 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. 

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