Issues Index April 2019: Public concern over Brexit reaches record high

With the nature and timing of Britain’s exit from the European Union remaining uncertain, the April Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows public concern about Brexit again reaching the highest level of concern recorded about European issues since the Index began in September 1974. By contrast, worry about immigration has fallen to a two-decade low.

The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Michael Gibson Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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With the nature and timing of Britain’s exit from the European Union remaining uncertain, the April Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows public concern continues to mount. Seventy-two per cent of the public mention Britain’s departure from the EU as a big issue for the country, up four points since March and equalling February’s tally of 71 per cent as the highest level of concern recorded about European issues since the Index began in September 1974. Six in ten Britons say that Britain’s exit from the EU is the single biggest issue for the country (59%), again equalling the level of concern recorded in earlier this year in February. 

There has been a sharp drop in concern about immigration this month, with the proportion mentioning it as a big issue for Britain halving to 11 per cent. This is the lowest level of worry about this issue for almost two decades; the last time concern was at this level was March 2001. 

There has also been a significant increase in concern about education, mentioned by 23 per cent of the public this month, compared with 17 per cent in March. Those in social grades AB (40%), residents of southern England (39%) and people aged 35-54 (30%) are more likely to be concerned about education and schools.

Issues Index April 2019 - top ten

While Brexit is the biggest concern for all Britons, there is sharp variation between subgroups in the extent to which they are worried:

  • Conservative party supporters are one of the most likely to mention Brexit as a worry, with almost nine in ten mentioning it as a concern (86%). Other highly concerned groups include those in social grades AB (82%) or aged 65 and over (81%), along with people living in southern England (80%). 
  • Labour voters and those in social grades C1 and C2 show levels of concern close to the average (76%, 75% and 75% respectively)
  • People in social grades DE and those aged 18-24 stand out as being significantly less likely than average to mention Brexit as a big issue (53% and 56%), although they are also less likely to express concern about most issues.

Brexit concern - dashboard

Technical note 

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 994 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants 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 5 and 22 April 2019 at 170 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

See more of Ipsos MORI's long-term political and social trends here.

The author(s)

  • Michael Clemence Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Michael Gibson Ipsos Public Affairs, UK