The May Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows that, as the UK again comes to terms with a recession, concern about the economy has increased, and three fifths (61%) now place this issue amongst the most important facing the country, an increase of six percentage points since April. Our May Political Monitor shows that economic optimism has taken a turn for the worse, with 44% who now feel that the economic condition of the country will get worse over the next 12 months. It also shows that the two main parties are seen to have a similar level of economic competence, though it is Conservative voters who are much more concerned about this issue than Labour voters (76% compared to 60%).
With the announcement that the rate of unemployment has fallen by 45,000 in the three months to March, concern about unemployment has fallen by six percentage points; a third (34%) are concerned, a fall from two fifths (40%) in April. Labour voters are much more likely to mention it than Conservative voters (40% compared with 31%). A fifth (20%) mention race relations/immigration. A similar percentage (19%) mention inflation/prices, representing the highest level of concern about this issue since October 2008, at the start of the last recession, as the Bank of England announced that the rate of inflation will remain above the 2% target “for the next year or so”.
Concern about crime has fallen by five percentage points, and this issue has fallen out of the top five issues facing the country, to the lowest level since the aftermath of 9/11. Concern about crime is higher in the south of England and amongst AB respondents (20% and 19% respectively) than in the Midlands and amongst DE respondents (10% and 11% respectively).
Similarly, just 6% of the public are now concerned with defence/foreign affairs, a drop of three percentage points and the lowest level of concern since immediately prior to 9/11.
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 984 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 4-14th May 2012 at 148 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.