The most recent Welsh Barometer Poll asked respondents about the issues they considered to be most important at the upcoming General Election. Respondents were shown a list of issues and asked to select up to three that they considered the most important at this election.**
A similar poll carried out roughly four weeks before the 2017 General asked the same question, allowing us to see how the relative importance of issues has changed for voters.
The Figure below compares results from the two polls, and show the change in the proportion of respondents selecting each issue since 2017.
Immigration and the economy have seen the biggest decrease in the proportion of respondents selecting them as one of the most important issues. To some extent these issues may have been ‘subsumed’ by the question of the UK’s relationship to the EU — the only issue that a majority of respondents selected — given the close relationship between these issues in many voters minds. Yet there is also evidence that people’s views on immigration have become more positive.
The environment has seen the biggest increase in respondents selecting it as one of the most important issues, probably a result of increased media attention and the Extension Rebellion protests.
We will be asking this question again closer to the election, so it will be worth keeping a close eye on which issues become more salient throughout the campaign.
** There is some interesting research on why this might not be the best way to ask these kinds of questions. A good place to start would be Rob Johns Chapter ‘Slippery polls: why public opinion is so difficult to measure’ in Cowley and Ford’s Sex, Lies and Politics.