Royal Holloway and Survation have launched a new tracker, which shows the issues that are most important in each of Great Britain’s 632 Westminster Parliamentary constituencies.
The tracker uses multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) techniques to show which issues matter most in different areas. MRP works by predicting what survey respondents say using information on the respondents’ characteristics and the characteristics of their area and extrapolating that to constituencies.
The first edition of this tracker covers the first quarter of 2022 and is based on fieldwork between February and March 2022. The results show that the economy in general is the top issue in most constituencies (460), followed by coronavirus (153). Other issues which appeared as some of the most important were, Brexit (17 constituencies), crime (1 constituency) and energy (1 constituency).
Different issues matter in different constituencies. Seats held by Conservative MPs are overwhelmingly likely to indicate that the economy is the most important issue (88%). Seats held by Labour MPs are split more evenly between coronavirus (50%), the economy (43%), and Brexit (7%).
Commenting on the release of the tracker, Professor Chris Hanretty from Royal Holloway’s Democracy and Elections Centre, said: “MPs often talk about what's important on the doorstep – usually when they want to deflect attention from another issue.
“Now for the first time we've got some insight into what's important at local level. It's going to be interesting cross-checking these results against what MPs say people are telling them.”
CEO of Survation, Damian Lyons Lowe, added: "We've been working in partnership with Royal Holloway for five years now, and it's great to see that we'll be able to share the fruits of that co-operation regularly and publicly.”
The next release of the issues importance tracker will be in July 2022, following the end of the second quarter.
Survation polled 14,304 people in Great Britain between the 16 February and 30 March. Respondents were given a list of twenty-two issues and asked to pick the two most important issues facing the country right now.
The full list of constituencies, the issue most important to them, and the proportion picking that issue is available here.