Alex Massie Alex Massie

Who cares about immigration? (Or education?)

Who cares about immigration? In theory, everyone. It’s always mentioned as the policy that exercises voters but is ignored by politicians. (Europe generally comes second in this category.) Let’s see what YouGov reports. In one of their tracking polls this week they asked voters to pick the three most important issues. Chart?

Fully 66% of Conservative supporters think immigration a vital issue, as do 54% of Londoners and 55% of C2DEs. Other points of interest: only 11% of Tories say Tax is one of the three most important issues, the same percentage as thinks education is in the top three. Europe is mentioned by just 9% of those polled (though by 14% of Tories). Broadly speaking, immigration is less vital and tax more important to voters under 39 than it is to those over 40. Just one in four (27%) of Conservative supporters think the NHS is one of the three most important policy areas.

YouGov asked another question that is, perhaps, more revealing still: which of these issues are the most important facing you and your family? Again, respondents could pick up to three issues.

Europe*, incidentally, polled at 4%; Afghanistan, reasonably enough, at 2%. 20% of Tories, 22% of Londoners and 18% of C2DEs mentioned immigration. From this I think one may tentatively dedeuce that while voters certainly think immigration is an important subject they are more concerned by it on a macro, quasi-abstract, level than on a personal, familial or everyday social level. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue. Far from it. Merely that I suspect there are plenty of voters who like the idea of immigration being “addressed” or “tackled” in a rhetorical sense but they are less concerned, perhaps, with how that rhetoric is translated into policy.

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