Race/immigration is now seen as the singular most important issue facing Britain today.
The economy moves to second place, for the first time since August 2008
The June Economist/Ipsos issues index shows that race/immigration is now seen as the most important issue facing Britain – mentioned by two-fifths (39%) of the public, an increase of five percentage points since May. In January of this year, it was, jointly with the economy, the most important issue facing Britain, on 41%, but this is the first time it has had a lead over all other issues since April 2008.
Those who are more likely to mention race/immigration include those aged 55+ (47%) and those who live in the South East of England outside of London (55%), compared with those aged 18-34 and those who live in the capital (both 28%).
A third (33%) of the public now mention the economy as amongst the most important issues facing Britain, and indeed, this issue has steadily been declining in prominence over the last three years, having been mentioned by 68% in October 2011. This decline comes as one of our recent political monitors recorded the highest level of economic optimism since we began polling.
Almost three in ten (28%) mention unemployment, rising to 35% of those aged 18-34, amongst whom it remains the most important issue facing Britain. A quarter (24%) mention the NHS.
Around one in seven mention poverty/inequality (16%), education/schools (15%) and housing (14%). In the wake of the recent European elections, Europe is mentioned by 12% of the public, the highest percentage in nine years. This rises to 26% of UKIP supporters.
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 963 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 6-15th June in 181 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.