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12 August 2021

Immigration and asylum are now the most important issues for Conservative voters

New YouGov polling reveals that immigration is now a higher priority for Tories than the economy and health. 

By Patrick Scott

Immigration and asylum are now the most important issue faced by the UK, according to Conservative voters.

More than half – 54 per cent – of Conservatives picked the topic within their top three issues in the week of 9 August when asked by YouGov. This was significantly more than the average of 31 per cent of all adults, which in turn was higher than the 14 per cent of Labour voters rating immigration as a top issue.

The rise (YouGov has been polling on this question weekly) comes after a week of headlines highlighting the record number of migrants crossing the channel to reach the UK this year. It means that, among Conservatives, immigration and asylum overtook the economy as the most important issue the country faces, the first time it has been ahead of both the economy and health since the onset of the UK’s Covid-19 epidemic.

Immigration is the top issue facing the UK, according to Conservatives
Per cent of respondents picking each issue in their top three, by party vote
Source: YouGov, 9 August 2021

The significance of the environment was another area of disagreement between the two major parties, with 45 per cent of Labour voters putting it among their top three, making it their second most important issue overall. Just 24 per cent of Conservative voters put it in their top three.

However, in what might constitute a glimmer of good news for those worried by this week’s IPCC report on climate change, this number has risen steadily (up from 9 per cent) since YouGov began tracking this data in June 2019.

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[See also: “Dangerous climate change has arrived”: IPCC report is a warning to the world ahead of COP26]