The Real Election Issues

At 9:58am on Tuesday 3rd February, Enda took to twitter to tell the Irish people that the General Election 2016 had begun. After weeks of speculation, the Ignite office is tired of political promises filling the radio debates and newspaper columns.

However, since last November, after our People's Budget, we have been tracking the national issues which Irish people care about. Based on out Ignite score model, we have been asking people what national issues they have heard about recently (the awareness score) and what issues are important to them.

These are the areas Irish people will talk to election candidates about and these are the issues which potential politicians should be prepared to answer questions on - based on a sample of 1,000 and nationally represented every month.

1. Health
The health strategy has continuously been a sore point for any Government. With an annual budget of €13 billion (the highest Government expenditure), it is no great surprise that people are concerned about the system.

2. Jobs
Despite Labour talking all about the jobs, the number of people saying it is very important slightly declined from 2015 to 2016 but remains as the second most important issue to people. This maybe as a result of the reduced unemployment rate.

3. Crime
The third area of concern for Irish people, particularly in rural areas, is crime. 59% of Irish people believe this is very important and 3 in 5 people had heard about crime in recent weeks.

Our score acknowledges what people think is important, but also whether the issue is on their radar. While the fourth issue - education - is very important to 87% of Irish people, only 34% of people had heard about this topic in recent weeks. Similarly, housing is very important to people, but is not on 42% of people's radar.

The question is whether Irish people want or will discuss these issues with politicians when they start to knock on doors across the country. Let the games begin.