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Why all the fuss over an issue that barely registers?

March 6th, 2008

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    Does anybody out there care about EU matters?

After last night’s big commons vote rejecting a referendum on the Lisbon treats it is perhaps worth looking at how all of this ranks in the public’s mind. For once again there’s strong polling evidence that it barely registers as an issue that voters care about.

For after a period when the big political story has been Britain’s relationship with the EU the latest Ipsos-MORI monitor is out with, amongst other things its regular survey of what people see as the “..important issues facing Britain today”.

This monthly finding is unique in British polling because the firm has been asking it for decades in exactly the same form and because it is entirely unprompted. It’s a two stage process. Firstly those being questioned are asked which is the “most important issue” and then, again unprompted, they are asked to name “other important issues”. The answers to the first part are in the second column and the third column combines the responses to both questions.

Of course the political row has been over whether manifesto commitments have been honoured rather than the substantive matter are the EU itself – but you would have thought that something that saw such noise and the rebellion in the ranks of Lib Dem MPs would have been on a policy debate that is higher up the public’s agenda.

As can be seen in the findings reproduced above MORI find, yet again that this not not a matter that people care enough about to rank amongst their “most important issues”.

The latest voting intention figures in the poll show a slight change on the firm’s January surveys which had Labour with a one point lead. The shares are with changes on the previous month – CON 39%(+2): LAB 37%(-1): LD16%(nc).

The field work was completed a week last month so the survey pre-dates the YouGov poll that we had at the weekend.

Mike Smithson






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