Concern about the economy increases, though race relations/immigration remains important
Ipsos MORI's March Issues Index shows that the economy remains the most important issue facing the country today, as has been the case since September 2008. More than half of the public (55%) place it among the most important issues facing Britain, an increase of seven percentage points since February, despite recent revisions to GDP figures showing higher levels of growth in the final quarter of 2009 than previously thought. Also, this figure reverses the steady decline in the importance attached to the economy seen since January last year, perhaps due to the politicisation of the economy in anticipation of the General election. Race relations/immigration is the second most prevalent response - a third (33%) of respondents place this among the most important issues facing the country - a four percentage point increase since February. As with February, Crime/Law and order is mentioned by a quarter (25%) of respondents. Prior to the recession, between 2006-2008, these were the two issues that dominated, and this has, perhaps, created a 'baseline' of concern that may remain for some time. A fifth place both NHS and Education among the most important issues facing the country (20% and 19% respectively) and both have increased by a fraction since January. For much of Tony Blair's first years as Prime Minister, and before that, these were the top issues cited by respondents, but, recently, have been less likely to be mentioned.
Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews are conducted in-home at 161 sampling points across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between 26th Feb - 4th March 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.