Peston claim that immigration is top public concern based on his own findings

25 November 2021
What was claimed

The single issue that voters in this country care about is immigration, and this issue of migrants trying to get here is at the top of voters’ concerns.

Our verdict

This is not mentioned as the top concern facing this country in the most recent Ipsos MORI or YouGov polls.

“Actually the single issue that voters in this country care about is immigration, and this issue of migrants trying to get here is at the top of voters’ concerns and right now this government does not seem to have a plan to deter it and to prevent these appalling tragedies.”

During an evening news report, journalist Robert Peston claimed that the “single” issue voters care about is immigration, and migrants “trying to get here is at the top of voters’ concerns”. His claim, made on ITV News at Ten on 24 November, followed news that at least 27 people had drowned in the English Channel after their boat sank. 

However, this is not what some of the most recent polls about voter concerns report.

Several pollsters routinely ask members of the public what they believe the most important issues facing the country are at any one time.

YouGov asked adults in Great Britain most recently on 22 November 2021 to pick up to three of the most important issues facing the country. The top three responses were health (49%), the economy (40%) and the environment (35%). Immigration and asylum were fourth with 34%. (These figures are analysed to remove random fluctuations in the data due to sampling variability. If this isn’t done immigration and asylum are even lower with 22%).

Ipsos MORI polled people between 5 and 11 November and found climate change was mentioned most as a concern (40%). Coronavirus and pandemic diseases came second with 27% and Brexit issues and the NHS/healthcare were both third with 22%. Immigration and immigrants were mentioned by 11%.

It's understood Mr Peston's comment about immigration being the single issue that voters care about was based on his own findings from conversations with MPs rather than any specific data. 

An ITV spokesperson said: “After speaking to a wide range of MPs about the issues they believe to be the most important to their constituents, Robert Peston has been informed that the topic that comes up most frequently at the moment in conversation and in emails between constituents and MPs is migration and migrants."

Correction 25 November 2021

We corrected this article to note the claim was made on 24 November.

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