Despite the end of the recession half of the public remain concerned about the economy, and a third concerned about unemployment
The Economist/Ipsos MORI October issues index shows that, despite today’s GDP figures showing that the UK has emerged from the double dip recession, half of the public (52%) still consider the economy to be among the most important issues facing Britain today, though this is a fall of nine percentage points since August and the lowest level of concern about the economy that we have recorded for 16 months.
Our recent Political Monitor has shown a fall in economic optimism, with two fifths (39%) who believe that the economic situation will get worse over the next 12 months, compared with a quarter (25%) who believe it will get better, an increase in pessimism since the post Olympics boost in September, and this indicates perhaps that there is still some way to go to convince the public that we have turned a corner in terms of repairing the economic damage. The most affluent remain the most concerned; 63% of ABs are concerned about the economy compared with 38% of DEs.
A third of the public (32%) are concerned about unemployment, the lowest figure in almost a year, following the announcement of a decline in the numbers out of work by 50,000 in the three months to August. Concern about a third economic issue, namely inflation, remains steady since last month on 17%. Older people in lower social grades are more likely to be concerned about inflation (20% of C2DEs aged 55+) compared with older people in higher social grades (8% of ABC1s aged 55+)
Around a fifth cite race relations/immigration (21%), the NHS (19%), and crime (18%) as among the most important issues facing Britain, and one in ten mention poverty/inequality, housing, and education. A similar proportion (9%) mention our ageing population, as concern about social care funding remains a key issue, with the Health Secretary talking about “hard truths about how we are going to pay for social care” at the Conservative Party Conference.
Concern about matters further afield remains low on our list of priorities, with just one in twenty concerned about defence/foreign affairs (6%) and EU/Europe (5%).
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 1,050 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 5th and 22nd October 2012 at 144 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.