Economist/Ipsos November 2013 Issues Index

In this month's Issues Index for The Economist, we have recorded the highest ever concern about both poverty/inequality and low pay/fair wages.

General concern about the economy continues to fall as concern shifts to poverty/inequality and the personal economy.

Highest level of concern about low pay and poverty/inequality Ipsos have ever recorded

The Economist/Ipsos November Issues index shows that, though the general economy is still the most important issue facing Britain today, mentioned by two fifths (40%) of the public as amongst the most important issues, this is the lowest level of concern since June 2008, as the financial crisis started to take shape. As we have seen for some months, concern is higher amongst men (46%), ABs, and those in the South East excluding London (both 50%).

In second place, as it has been for the last five months, is race relations/immigration, with 35% concerned. A similar percentage (33%) are concerned about unemployment, and a quarter (24%) about the NHS, indeed these four issues have been paramount since January.

However, other issues relating to personal finances are coming more to the fore; 17% are concerned about inflation/prices, and this is also higher in the South East excluding London (27%). One in six (16%) are concerned about poverty/inequality, the highest figure we have ever recorded, following the release of ONS figures this month showing that inequality is at its lowest since 1986. Concern about this issue is higher in London (23%), and amongst Labour voters (25%).

Concern about low pay/fair wages also appears in the list of the top ten issues facing Britain, with one in ten (10%) concerned about this issue, this is also the highest level of concern we have ever recorded, and it rises to 18% amongst 35-54 C2DEs.

This shift in concern from the general away to the personal ties in with our November Political Monitor data showing that half (48%) feel that the recent economic upturn has had no impact on their standard of living, despite a wider optimism about the national economy. In total, 39% mention at least one of the issues relating to their personal economy (prices/inflation, poverty/inequality, low pay/fair wages or petrol prices/fuel), compared with 40% who mention the national economy. However, amongst Labour voters concern is greater than concern about the national picture (49% versus 36%).


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 998 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 1st-10th November in 190 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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