Health, Immigration and Economy Top Three Concerns for Voters


Health, immigration and the economy far outstrip other issues in terms of importance to voters, a new poll by YouGov for the Times Red Box has found. However, the pollsters yesterday discovered that issues come second in voters’ minds to the values and priorities of parties as they make up their minds on who to back.

YouGov asked 1,620 people “Which of the following issues will be important to you in deciding how you will vote at the general election?” and first asked respondents to pick three. They were then asked to pick the one which was the most important to them.

The results showed that the single most important issue was immigration, with 22 percent choosing this as their single most important issue. Overall health made it into more people’s top three choices, being picked by 47 percent of those sampled, and 18 percent of people as their single most important issue.

The economy came in third place when ordered on people’s top three, at 43 percent, but rated second as a single most important issue, chosen by 20 percent. Transport, education, family life and the environment were the least popular choices. The results are a mixed bag for Labour, the Conservative and the UK Independence Party, who each lead on one of these three issues.

Economics is traditionally the Conservative’s strong point, and this election is no different: Prime Minister David Cameron has today capitalised on this by announcing his intention to achieve “full employment” in the next Parliament if re-elected as PM.

In economic terms full employment doesn’t actually mean zero unemployment as a situation in which there were more workers than jobs would fuel inflation. Rather, the unemployment at which inflation would remain stable is considered to be around 5 percent, just one percent below the current rate.

Cameron sidestepped this detail by telling his audience: “Full employment may be an economic term, but this is what it means in human terms: it means more of our fellow men and women with the security of a regular wage; it means you, your family and your children having a job and getting on in life.”

Meanwhile polling shows that Labour are still the party most trusted to run the NHS. A poll undertaken by Lord Ashcroft in November with a panel size of 20,000 put Labour 18 points ahead of the Conservatives when people were asked which party had the best approach to the NHS. 47 percent of those polled picked Labour.

There is further good news for Miliband’s party via a YouGov poll for the Times Red Box undertaken last week, which showed that 32 percent of those polled would prefer more money was spent on public services, even if it meant racking up further public debts. Just 24 people would rather see the debt tackled even at the expense of public services, whilst 29 percent wanted to see the current balance remain.

The question was also presented with ‘debt’ substituted for ‘tax’. The alternate question actually showed an increased preference for spending, with 42 percent responding that they would rather see taxes rise if it meant more spending on public services, against just 14 percent who would rather see taxes fall. 32 percent wanted the current balance to remain.