Ipsos Issues Index: June 2021

Public concern about COVID-19 begins to rise again

The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs
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  • Public concern about the Coronavirus pandemic has risen seven percentage points to 56 per cent
  • The level of concern about education and immigration increases
  • Concern about climate change rises to 21 per cent, the highest score since the pandemic began

The June 2021 Ipsos issues Index shows a slight rise in the proportion of the British public who are concerned about COVID-19, compared with the past few months. The proportion who see it as the single biggest issue has also risen, from one-third (34%) to over four-in-ten (42%). Fieldwork occurred before the Government announcement that the June lifting of restrictions in England was being postponed.

At the same time public concern has risen about a range of other issues. One in five are worried about education (21%), a rise of six percentage points since May. There has also been a five percentage-point increase in the proportion who mention immigration, from eight to 13 per cent, and a marginal rise in concern about race relations (now on 10%).

The proportion of Britons who mention the environment and climate change as a big issue has also risen marginally to 21 per cent, treble the level recorded in the July of 2020 (7%) and the highest score since the February 2020, immediately pre-pandemic. However it remains just the joint-fifth biggest issue behind the economy, NHS and Brexit, as well as COVID-19.

Ipsos Issues Index June 2021

While COVID-19 remains the biggest issue for the nation by some distance, there are some groups who are notably less likely to mention the pandemic as a big concern

  • Younger people are less likely than older groups to be concerned about COVID-19, with 45 per cent of 18-34 year olds mentioning it as an issue this month, compared with 58 per cent of 35-54 year olds and 62 per cent of the over 55s.
  • Three-quarters of Conservative party supporters mention the pandemic as a big issue for Britain (73%), compared with half of Labour party supporters or those who do not support a political party (50% and 47% respectively)
  • While six-in-ten of those from a white ethnic background are worried about COVID-19 (59%), among those from ethnic minorities this figure is four-in-ten (39%)

Concern about coronavirus/pandemic disease by subgroup - Ipsos Isssues Index June 2021

Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos, said:

The spike in concern about the pandemic for this month was recorded just ahead of the postponement of the June lifting of restrictions in England, which reminds us that many people in the country are still very worried about the pandemic.
But at the same time, we have seen increases in concern about a broad range of issues including education, immigration and race relations. The level of worry about climate change and the environment is also continuing to recover towards its pre-pandemic level.

Technical note
Since May 2020 the Issues Index has been conducted over the phone; lockdown conditions mean face-to-face fieldwork is currently not an option for public opinion polling. Mode effects should be kept in mind when comparing the new data points with previous months.
Ipsos's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,003 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers.
Ipsos's telephone omnibus was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted between 4 and 14 May 2021 across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.


The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs

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