The June 2016 Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index reveals that, just ahead of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, concern with the EU has risen to the highest level since December 1999. The proportion who see the EU as an important issue is now at 32% - however both the NHS (37%) and immigration (48%) remain bigger issues overall. Notably, concern with immigration has risen by ten percentage points since the May Index, when concern stood at 38%.
This finding reinforces data from the most recent Ipsos MORI Political Monitor (published 16th June), which shows that immigration is now seen as the biggest issue that will influence how people vote at next week’s referendum.
Amongst those surveyed for the Issues Index, concern with immigration is particularly high for Conservative supporters (61%), those aged 65 and over and those from social grade C2 (both 60%).
Immigration is the biggest concern for both Labour and Conservative supporters – 41% and 61% respectively name this as a big issue. Amongst Conservative supporters immigration is the single most important issue, twenty percentage points ahead of the second-most important issue, the NHS (41%) This represents a large swing since May, when there was a four percentage point difference between the proportion of these voters who considered immigration (50%) and the EU (46%) to be big issues. For Labour supporters the NHS is just four percentage points behind immigration, on 37%.
Ipsos MORI's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 985 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The questions are spontaneous - i.e. respondents are not prompted with any answers.
Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 3rd and 13th June in 172 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
The facts may have changed on Brexit - but people’s minds have not
Reflecting the national vote in the 2016 referendum, voters in Bedford split almost the same way, with 51.8% voting to leave the EU. Two years on, we joined the BBC Radio 4 Today programme to ask local Bedford residents what they have to say on the matter now.