The October Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows that, as has been the case since August, over half (52%) of the public mention immigration as among the most important issues facing Britain. For a third (34%) it is the single most important issue. This is a drop of four percentage points since last month, though concern remains at a historic high.
Concern is higher amongst Conservative voters – two thirds (65%) mention this issue, compared with just under half (47%) of Labour supporters. It is, however, the most important issue across supporters of both parties. Concern is most keenly felt by C2DES aged 55+, 59% of whom mention it compared with 41% of ABC1s aged 18-34.
This month, we have asked an additional question of all those who mentioned immigration. Amongst those who say it is important to them, half (49%) feel that ‘there are too many immigrants coming to Britain – we need to reduce immigrant numbers” and 19% because they are “worried about the refugee crisis and want Britain to do more to help”. A further quarter (27%) give both reasons as to why it is important to them.
Separately, 37% are concerned about the NHS, with concern about this issue having been at or above the 30% mark for a year now. A quarter (26%) mention the economy, an issue that has, broadly speaking, been declining in importance since 2011.
However concern about housing is on the increase – a fifth (20%) mention this issue, the highest percentage to do so in 41 years. Though there are differences between age groups – (24% of 18-34 year olds mention housing compared with 17% of those aged 55+) the difference is most stark when the results are looked at geographically – with concern ranging from 8% in the north of England to 43% in London, where it remains the most important issue.
Data we released last week for London councils substantiates the concern about housing expressed by Londoners - and the clustering of concern in and around the capital.
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 9th- 19th October in 179 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.