Issues Index May 2019: Brexit remains the pre-eminent public concern, with a rise in worry about the environment

The May 2019 Ipsos Issues Index shows Brexit continuing to dominate public concerns, while worry about the environment and pollution rises to highest score since 1990.

The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs
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  • Two thirds of the public mention Brexit as one of the biggest issues facing the country (66%)
  • Concern about pollution/environment rises to 20%, the highest score for three decades

The May Ipsos Issues Index shows Brexit continuing to dominate public concerns, with 66 per cent mentioning it as one of the biggest issues for the country and half seeing it as the single biggest worry (52%). Fieldwork was conducted between 3 – 19 May, in the run up to the European elections on the 23 May.

Twenty per cent of the public mention pollution/the environment as a major issue for Britain, a six-percentage point rise since April and the highest level recorded for this topic since June 1990. This caps a longer-term trend of increasing concern about the environment that has been observed since 2012. It is also one of the first spikes in concern on this topic that is not related to dramatic weather events such as flooding or drought.
May 2019 Issues Index - top tenConcern about pollution and the environment has risen across all groups, however there remains wide variation by social grade as well as other factors:

  • Three in ten of those in social grades AB mention the environment as a concern, as do a quarter of those in social grade C1 (29% and 25%). By contrast the figure for those in the C2 grade is 13%, and for those in grades DE it is 12%
  • Concern is highest among those living in southern England (29%), and falls in regions further north, down to 12 per cent of those living in Scotland
  • While younger Britons are slightly more concerned (23% for 18-24 year olds) the highest level of concern falls among older age groups – 27% of 45-54 year olds.

Concern about the environment - dashboard

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 1,006 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers. 
Ipsos's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 3 and 19 March 2019 at 164 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

See more of Ipsos's long-term political and social trends here.


The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs