Concern about the economy is the highest ever
Fieldwork: 7th - 13th May 2010
Ipsos MORI's May Issues Index shows that the highest level of concern about the economy that we have ever recorded. Seven in ten (71%) place it among the most important issues facing the country, (an increase of 16 percentage points since April) and for over half (53%) it is the single most important issue. The last time it approached these levels of concern was when it reached 70% following the second banking bailout in January 2009, but had been in decline since then; however it has remained the most important issue facing Britain, without interruption, since September 2008.
The majority of fieldwork for this survey was undertaken after election day and before the announcement of the new government. However, the lack of government during this time was not an issue that concerned the public; only one percent mentioned it, and the same proportion mentioned electoral reform as among the most important issues. This perhaps indicates that there is more concern with how the new government will tackle the debt than there is with the composition of the government itself, as well as a belief that the situation would soon be resolved.
The second most important issue concerning the public is race relations/immigration. Approaching one in four (38%) place race relations/immigration among the most important issues, an increase of nine percentage points since April, and the highest figure in over two years. This increase might be partly to do with concerns around the coalition government being able to reach a consensus on an issue where their manifestos differ markedly. From our Best Party on Key Issues research, we can see that the Conservatives are seen to be the best party at dealing with both immigration and crime.
One in five (20%) are concerned with crime/ law and order as an issue facing the country, a drop of five percentage points, and the lowest score since June 2004. The fall in importance of this issue may reflect the fact that other issues were focused on during the campaign and post-election negotiations, since slightly more are concerned about education (23%), unemployment and the NHS (both 22%).
Pensions/benefits/Social security is among the key issues facing the country for one in ten (10%), the highest level since December 2006, which may indicate concerns around the new administration's policy on welfare provision; historically, this is an area that the Labour party were seen as best at.
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 1,045 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 are conducted in-home at 181 sampling points across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between 7th-13th May 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.