New Ipsos MORI analysis shows that a majority of people in Scotland (59%) viewed the Coronavirus pandemic as one of the most important issues facing Britain in 2020 (in line with Britain as a whole - 60%). Although concern about Brexit jumped in December due to uncertainty over the post-Brexit trade deal , the pandemic was the most frequently mentioned concern in our 2020 ‘Issues Index’ for Scotland, followed by Brexit.
While people in Scotland shared many priorities with their neighbours south of the border, there was one clear difference: Scottish independence and devolution. Ten per cent of Scots listed this as an important issue facing Britain compared to just one per cent of the British public overall.
However, several other issues ranked higher than constitutional concerns for Scots in 2020. Around a quarter mentioned the economy (slightly less than for Britain overall – 30%). Other important issues for Scots were the NHS (24%), poverty and inequality (17%) and unemployment (13%) – all broadly in line with figures for Britain as a whole.
Catriona Millar, a researcher at Ipsos MORI, said:
It’s no surprise that the Coronavirus pandemic was the top concern for people both in Scotland and across Britain in 2020, although issues such as Brexit, the economy and the NHS also loomed large. Scottish independence and devolution did not appear in the top five issues that Scots saw as facing Britain in 2020 – although we know from recent Ipsos MORI polling that this is the top issue that voters say will be very important to helping them make up their minds about which party to cast their vote for ahead of the May 2021 Holyrood elections.
- Ipsos MORI's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. In 2020, Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 9,103 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain across nine waves of fieldwork. This included 956 adults aged 18+ across Scotland. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers.
- In April 2020 the Issues Index moved from a face-to-face survey to being conducted over the phone due to Coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Two waves of data (for January and February 2020) were conducted using a face-to-face methodology while the subsequent waves used telephone.
- Data for each wave are weighted to match the profile of the British adult population.
- See Ipsos MORI’s latest Scottish Political Monitor for which issues voters see as very important in helping them decide which party to vote for at the May 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
- Tabular data aggregates available on request.