Voting Behaviour

How do ethnic minorities vote?

Runnymede has made a film on voting patterns of ethnic minorities, based on data from the largest ever survey on the issue. The film highlights some of the issues raised by the The 2010 Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES).

The 2010 Ethnic Minority British Election Survey is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken in Britain of the political concerns, orientations, voting patterns and integration of ethnic minorities in the political process.

The key findings are:
  • Black and minority ethnic people remain highly supportive of the Labour party, with 68% (two-thirds) voting Labour. The Conservatives and LiberalDemocrats - coalition partners in the current government - got only 16% and 14% of the BME vote respectively.
  • Ethnic minorities are somewhat less likely than the White British to register to vote, but among those who are registered turnout rates are very similar towhite British ones.
  • They are also highly supportive of British democracy. BME people share the British norm of a duty to vote, and the great majority identify with Britain. Concerns about the commitment of minorities to British norms and values are misplaced.
  • Nor do Muslims show in general any lack of commitment to Britain or any enthusiasm for extremist politics.
  • However, there is worrying evidence that second-generation citizens of Black Caribbean heritage do not feel that the British political system has treated them fairly. Black Caribbeans, not Muslims, are the group who feel most alienated.
  • Finally, a majority of BME people believe that there is still prejudice in the UK society, including nearly three-quarters of Black Caribbean people. Indeed, over a third (36%) of ethnic minorities report a personal experience of discrimination.

Click here to read the full briefing paper.

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