Around half the public remain concerned about the economy, though concern about unemployment has fallen since November.
Ipsos MORI's February Issues Index shows that the economy remains the most important issue facing the country today, as has been the case since September 2008. Just under half of the public (48%) place it among the most important issues facing Britain. This is a similar proportion (49%) to that recorded in November, but the economy has been declining in importance since its peak of 70% in January of last year. This is the first Issues Index conducted since the end of the recession was announced, and reflects the findings from our Political Monitor of economic optimism returning. Unemployment is the fourth most important issue facing Britain - one in five (20%) are concerned about this issue, a drop of seven percentage points since last month which ties in with the release of unemployment figures showing a slight drop in the claimant count at the end of 2009. However, concern is still at a level much higher than that registered throughout most of the last decade.
Almost one in three (29%) place race relations/immigration among the most important issues facing the country, a four percentage point drop since November, though the November index was conducted in the wake of the BNP's appearance on 'Question Time'. Crime/law and order is seen to be among the most important issues by a quarter (25%) of respondents, a similar proportion to November (24%), though it is still lower than figures recorded throughout much of the last decade.face-to-face between 4th - 9th Feb 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
World divided on socialism, 200 years after birth of Karl Marx
Half of the people around the world think that at present, socialist ideals are of great value for societal progress. Despite this, half of the people also agree that socialism is a system of political oppression, mass surveillance and state terror. Globally, eight in ten people think that the rich should be taxed more to support the poor. Around the world nine in ten people believe that education should be free of charge and that free healthcare is a human right.