Europe is more important, now you mention it

13 March 2014

Yesterday we showed how Lord Mandelson's claims that Europe wasn't a major issue for most people were reflected in Ipsos MORI's Issues Facing Britain index. Only 2% of adults cite it as the most important issue and 6% as among the important issues.

But this Twitter conversation today discussed different figures: "Europe comes 5th on 'most important issues facing country'", showing a full 17% of adults naming Europe as one of the most important.

Is it 17% or 6%? A lot depends on whether you prompt people. Ipsos MORI's poll doesn't list options, it just asks people to name issues spontaneously which they think are important. That's why the 'Europe' issue is counted as any mention from the 'Euro' to the 'Common Market'.

The figures on Twitter are from YouGov polls. They list possible options and restrict people to ticking the top three important issues. This might well explain why so many more people say Europe is important to YouGov than to Ipsos MORI.

yougov importance

17% is also an outlier based on recent trends. In 2014 YouGov has normally found 12% or 13% people saying Europe is among the biggest issues. That said, in 2013 it peaked at 27% and had a low point of 10%. Ipsos MORI's poll is also volatile. Last year the proportion of people naming Europe varied between 5% and 9%. So it doesn't always help to take just one month's worth of information.

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