Two fifths of Britons are now concerned about unemployment, as concern about the NHS also increases
The Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues index shows that, this month, around two fifths (38%) are concerned about unemployment – a five percentage point increase since January. Concern about unemployment has been increasing steadily since August of last year, when a quarter (26%) mentioned it, and it has been the second most important issue facing Britain since the end of 2011. Those more likely to mention it include those aged 18-44 (42%), those in social grade DE (47%) and Labour voters (51%).
This means that the top two issues facing the country are now firmly established as the economy (64%, up three points since January) and unemployment.
Additionally, in a month which there has been much coverage of alleged racial abuse amongst premiership footballers, there has been an increase (of four percentage points) in concern about race relations/immigration; a quarter (24%) mention this issue as among the most important facing the country.
There has also been an increase in concern about the NHS; 22% mention this issue – up from 17% in January, in which time there has been much comment and debate about the government's proposed reforms to the NHS.
Such increases draw attention away from other issues; for example just 2% are concerned about pollution/environment, the lowest since July 2004. Also at 2%, concern about constitutional affairs is the highest this century, though it will be interesting to see if this becomes a more prevalent issue as the debate over Scottish independence intensifies.
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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 945 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-15th Feb 2012 across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
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