October 2010 Issues Index

The economy remains the issue of most concern, particularly for private sector workers

October 2010 Issues Index

Ipsos MORI's October Issues Index shows that concern about the economy remains high - two fifths (42%) mention it when asked what the most important issue facing the country is, and an additional 17% place it among the most important issues, meaning that three fifths (59%) are concerned about this issue in total. The economy has been the most important issue since September 2008.

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Three in ten (29%) are concerned about unemployment, an increase of 3 percentage points since September and the highest proportion since August of last year (30%). However this figure is still nowhere near as high as it was in the early 1990s, when it peaked at 81%. In third position is race relations/immigration, about which 27% are concerned, a fall of 4 percentage points since last month, and the lowest score in 12 months. As has been the case for most of 2010, a quarter (23%) are concerned about crime, and a fifth (21%) are concerned about the NHS.

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One in ten (10%) are concerned about benefits/pensions, a proportion which has not been higher since May 2006, though this subject has rarely received such coverage in a single month, and more than 10% were concerned about this issue for much of Tony Blair's premiership.160 This relative lack of salience may change when changes to the welfare system begin to take shape. Currently, there is no variation between those who are working and those who are not, in fact, those most concerned about benefits and pensions are those who are older and belong to lower social grades; 16% of C2DE respondents aged over 55 consider this issue to be important.

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Looking at the results across those working in different sectors, private sector workers are more likely to be worried about both the economy and unemployment (66% and 32% mention these issues respectively) than are those in the public sector (62% and 26%).This corresponds with our latest economic optimism data which shows that those working in the private sector are more pessimistic about the future direction of Britain's economy. See also this article.

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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 960 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The questions are spontaneous - i.e. respondents are not prompted with any answers.160 Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey.160Interviews were conducted160face-to-face160in-home between1601st- 7th October1602010 at 155 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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