David Barrett, Telegraph, August 21, 2015
Immigration is the biggest worry among British voters, overtaking the NHS and the economy as their main concern, according to a new poll.
Fifty per cent of the public said immigration was among the most important issues facing the country, the highest level ever recorded by the monthly Economist Ipsos Mori poll.
Since the Calais crisis erupted, immigration has overtaken the NHS as the most commonly mentioned concern, with the health service now mentioned by 37 per cent of those polled.
The economy was cited as a concern by 27 per cent.
Bobby Duffy, the managing director of the Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute, said: “We have never seen concern about immigration this high, and when one single issue reaches 50 per cent it tends to signify that the public perceive it is something which needs to be addressed urgently.
“We await to see whether this 50 per cent figure becomes a high water mark, or if consistent media attention specifically focussed on Calais will push concern beyond this level in months to come.”
The survey of more than 1,000 adults showed immigration was the single most important issue facing the country for 32 per cent of those questioned.
It was the biggest concern by far with the next most commonly mentioned topic, the economy, mentioned by just 13 per cent.
The 50 per cent overall score was a rise of 8 per cent month-on-month and overtook the previous high watermark of 46 per cent, recorded in December 2007 when Britain, in the months after Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union.
The new poll showed worries about immigration were higher among older age groups, with it mentioned by 64 per cent of those aged 65 and over, and 62 per cent of those aged 55-64.
It was the most frequently mentioned worry even among Labour supporters, of whom 39 per cent mentioned immigration compared with 38 per cent who mentioned the NHS.
Two thirds of people who live in rural areas said they were concerned about immigration compared with 37 per cent of those in urban areas.