Economist/Ipsos March 2015 Issues Index

Immigration returns to its place as the most important issue facing Britain

The Economist/ Ipsos March 2015 Issues index – a surge in concern about immigration returns the issue to the most important facing Britain

The March Economist/Ipsos Issues Index shows that immigration once more returns to the top of the list of the most important issues facing Britain. Concern has increased by nine percentage points since February, and almost half (45%) of the public mention this issue, following the recent release of data showing net migration is now at a record high.

Those more likely to mention immigration include those aged 45-54 (59%), those in the South East outside of London (53%) and DEs (52%)

Immigration was the most important issue for the last few months of 2014, but was overtaken by the NHS during the first two months of 2015. However, though it has itself been overtaken, two fifths (38%) remain concerned about the NHS. Those more likely to mention the NHS include ABs (48%), women (44%) and those aged 35-54 (44%).

Despite the fact that it is no longer the most important issue facing Britain, data from our recent political monitor shows that it is in fact the NHS that is seen as the most important issue at the ballot box followed by economic management (38% and 31% respectively mention these issues as important in deciding who to vote for). Asylum/immigration is mentioned by a quarter (25%), and is in third place, equal with education.

Indeed, a fifth (20%) mention education/schools as among the most important issues facing Britain, an increase of four percentage points since last month, and the highest percentage to do so in almost three years.

Looking at comparisons between this month’s data and data from two months before the last election, concern about the economy clearly dominated in 2010, and was mentioned by over half (55%) of the public. Five years later, around three in ten (28%) mention this issue, the lowest percentage in almost seven years. Furthermore, concern about crime, though at 25% in March 2010, has now fallen to just 12%.

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 1032 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 27th February – 11th March in 160 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. 

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