The September Economist/Ipsos MORI issues index shows that over half (56%) of the public mention immigration as among the most important issues facing Britain. For two fifths (40%) it is the single most important issue facing the country. This is an increase of 6 percentage points since August, and an increase of 14 percentage points since Jul, across all who mention it as an issue facing Britain.
As with last month, this represents the highest level of concern we have ever recorded about immigration – as the focus has shifted away from the refugee camps in Calais to the movement of people across Europe. It is also the highest score we have recorded for any issue in over three years, when 56% mentioned the economy in August 2012.
Immigration is now the most important issue across all ages, social grades, and party supporters, from three quarters (76%) of Conservative voters to half (49%) of Labour voters. Concern increases with age, from 38% of 18-24 year olds to 65% of those aged 65+.
Immigration is the most important issue facing Britain across all geographic areas of the country, with the sole exception of London, where a third (35%) are concerned, though this issue is second to housing, mentioned by 43%.
The NHS continues to be seen as the second most important issue - 36% mentioned it in September, with concern much higher in the South East (48%) and amongst ABs (45%).
Though it is the third most important issue, mentioned by a quarter (25%), concern about the economy is at the lowest level since March 2008.
On other issues, 14% are concerned about low pay, the highest level we have ever recorded, rising to a quarter (24%) of 25-34 year olds, and three in ten (29%) Londoners.
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 969 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 4th-17th September in 181 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.