Recent editions of the Ipsos MORI Issues Index reveal that, while voters have been most concerned about the economy since the latter half of 2008, this paradigm is undergoing significant change. The proportion of voters citing the economy as one of the most important issues facing the country has fallen by twenty-nine percentage points since the first full month of the current government’s tenure (65% in June 2010 and 36% in May 2014, the most recent edition of the Issues Index).
Meanwhile, concern with a range of other issues has risen. The proportion of voters who mention unemployment as one of the most important issues facing the country has risen from 21% in June 2010 to 32% in May 2014, while the proportion who cite issues surrounding the NHS has risen from 19% to 27% over the same time period. Concern with race relations and immigration has also increased, though not by as great a margin as might be expected: the proportion of voters mentioning the issue as a concern stood at 29% in June 2010, and has now risen to 34%.
This declining level of concern with the economy and equivalent increase with regard to other issues can be seen across almost all UK regions. Concern with the economy has fallen by more than twenty-five percentage points in all regions except Greater London, bringing the proportions of voters expressing concern about the issue to a more geographically uniform level. Concern with unemployment has risen across all regions, while the proportion of voters who mentioned issues surrounding the NHS has risen in all areas except Scotland. However, the issue of immigration presents a less uniform picture. While the proportion of voters to mention the issue has risen in southern England and in the Midlands, the inverse is true in Scotland, Northern England and Greater London. Detailed figures regarding these changes can be seen in the tables below.