The Economist/ Ipsos MORI November 2015 Issues index – concern about housing, low pay, and poverty sit at historic highs though immigration still leads over all other issues.
The November Issues index, conducted prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris, shows that immigration remains the most important issue facing Britain in the eyes of the public. It is mentioned, unprompted, by half (49%) of the British public, indeed for three in ten (31%) it is the single most important issue. This marks the sixth month in a row in which immigration has been the most important issue facing Britain, in each instance pushing concern about the NHS into second place. Amongst each age group and social grade concern about immigration is paramount – from 40% of those aged 18-24 to 64% of those aged 65 and older.
This month a third of the public (34%) mention NHS – though this issue has fallen from 47% in April of this year, this still marks the 13th consecutive month that concern about this issue has been at, or higher than, 30%. Concern about the NHS rises with age (and is therefore linked to need), from 18% of those aged 18-24 to 43% of those aged 65 or older.
A quarter (27%) are concerned about the economy, rising to 38% of those with mortgages and to 41% amongst ABC1s aged 35-54 (compared with 14% of C2DEs aged 55+).
A fifth (21%) are concerned about housing, the highest level of concern in 41 years, with concern to some extent localised in London and the South East – 38% of those in this area mention housing, compared with just 11% of those in the north of England and Scotland. Concern also varies by age, with a third (33%) of those aged 18-24 concerned about this issue – indeed it is second only to immigration as an issue of concern to this group.
Also at a historic high is concern about poverty /inequality – 18% of the public mention this issue, the joint highest ever (it also reached this level in July 2014). Concern reaches 27% amongst ABC1s aged 35-54 and a third (33%) of Scots, compared with 15% of Londoners.
Additionally, 15% are concerned about low pay, the highest percentage we have ever recorded. This rises to 23% of Labour supporters, 27% of Londoners, and 29% of C2DEs aged 35-54.
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 1,002 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 30th October – 9th November in 170 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.