Ethnic minority Britons at the 2024 general election

Tanya AbrahamResearch Director of Political and Social Research
Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
June 28, 2024, 2:44 PM GMT+0

A new YouGov study examines voting behaviour, as well as key issues and attitudes, among the UK’s ethnic minority groups

With the end of the election campaign nearing and parties hoping voters will be convinced that their manifesto policies will make them better off, new YouGov polling for Sky News explores the views and key concerns of ethnic minority Britons.

Our sample comprises 1,001 non-white Britons - it does not include White minorities such as Roma or Traveller groups. We acknowledge that grouping up all ethnic minority Britons is crude and there are often differing opinions between different communities – the results are further broken down into five more specific groupings: Black, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, those of mixed race, and other ethnicities.

Polling those of ethnic minority backgrounds is challenging more broadly and there are barriers related to language and reaching those who have recently moved to the country. Nevertheless, we think it is important to try and represent all groups, and that should be done even if it may be more challenging than most polls.

Voting intention

As is traditionally the case, Labour has a strong lead among ethnic minority voters. In our polling for Sky News earlier this month, fully 53% intend to vote Labour, with the Conservatives and the Greens trailing far behind in joint-second on 14%.

A further 7% intend to vote for Reform UK, 6% for the Lib Dems, and 5% for other parties.

Unlike Britain as a whole, Labour’s vote share remains consistent across age groups, ranging between 49% and 55%. Instead, we see that younger ethnic minority voters are substantially more likely to vote Green (21% of 18-24 year olds and 17% of 25-49 year olds compared to 4% of the over 65s).

We still see the trend of older voters being more likely to back the Conservatives (27% of the over 65s compared to 4% of 18-24 year olds).

Breaking the data down into specific ethnic groups highlights two very notable variations. First is that Conservative support is significantly higher among Indian voters than other groups – 32% of Britons of Indian ethnicity intend to vote Tory, although more still intend to vote Labour (40%).

The second is that support for the Greens is significantly higher among Britons of Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent, at 29%.

While the former voting difference has is a longer term trend, the latter is a new development.

How Gaza has damaged Labour’s standing with Britons of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage

Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are predominantly Muslim, and the increased support for the Greens seems to be a direct consequence of Keir Starmer’s stance on the Gaza conflict.

Indeed, we can see that fully 51% of ethnic minority voters backing the Greens say that Gaza is a top issue deciding their vote – substantially higher even than the environment (33%)! By contrast, only 8% currently voting for Labour say Gaza is a top issue for them, suggesting that those for whom the issue is important have likely taken their vote elsewhere.

Among Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons specifically, 41% select ‘the situation in Gaza and Israel’ as one of the top issues in deciding how they will vote – making it the third largest issue for them – compared to 18% for all ethnic minority Britons and just 5% of the whole public.

More than three quarters (78%) of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons say that Keir Starmer and the Labour party have handled the response to the Gaza conflict badly, which likewise probably explains why Keir Starmer himself is particularly unpopular among this group. Only 28% have a favourable view of the Labour leader, compared to 47% of all ethnic minority Britons.

By contrast, three quarters (75%) have a favourable view of Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, while half also have a positive view of the staunchly pro-Palestinian George Galloway (49%, with 32% having a negative view of the Workers Party leader). Both politicians are noticeably less popular among other ethnic groups.

While on all other issues we asked about Pakistani/Bangladeshi Britons are most likely to list Labour as the party they would try most to handle them, just 11% say so when it comes to Gaza – ten points behind the Greens. Fully half (48%) say they don’t trust any of the parties on the issue.

The Gaza stance could also explain why Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons are substantially more likely to consider the Labour party racist than other groups (42% vs 17-29%).

The Conservatives still far worse – they are more likely to be considered racist than Labour by every ethnic group (46-72%), with Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons again the most likely to hold this view.

Most important issues to ethnic minority Britons at the 2024 general election

The cost of living tops the list of issues that ethnic minority Britons say will be important in deciding their vote in July, with 64% choosing it. Most also choose the NHS (56%), with the economy in a distant third on 36%.

As has already been noted, 18% say that Gaza is a top issue in deciding their vote – meaning it ranks joint-fourth overall – and is a particularly important issue to Britons of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage (41%).

While most other ethnic groups are similarly likely to say Gaza is a top issue as the overall ethnic minority population, Black Britons are far less likely to see it as so important, at 3%. Instead, economic concerns are greater for this group, being more likely to say the cost of living is a top issue (73%) as well as the wider economy (48%).

Black Britons, as well as Britons of mixed ethnicity, are also more likely to cite housing as a top voting issue, at 25% and 28% respectively, compared to 11-16% of other groups.

Compared to the wider public, ethnic minority Britons are significantly more likely to say that the cost of living is a top issue, as well as Gaza. They are also slightly more likely to say the same of the economy and housing.

The public in general are more likely to see immigration, climate change and defence as top issues.

Labour are the most trusted party to make the right decisions in key areas

Across seven different policy areas, Labour is the most trusted party to manage all of them – although in the case of ‘the situation in Israel and Gaza’ this comes behind “none of them”.

Around a third think Labour are best equipped to manage the economy (32%), improve opportunities for all communities in Britain (33%) and make the right decisions on community relations (30%). In contrast, only 6-16% say the same of the Conservatives.

Those of Indian heritage give mixed responses when it comes to which party they trust most. While they trust Labour more on community relations, the NHS and improving opportunities for communities, they are divided between them and the Conservatives when it comes to policing, the economy, immigration and Gaza.

Other ethnic minority groups trust Labour more across all of these issues (except for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons on the issue of Gaza, on which they are more likely to trust the Greens).


Of seven political figures we asked about, Keir Starmer is the most popular. Almost half (47%) have a favourable view of the Labour leader, compared to 43% with an unfavourable view.

As has already been noted, Starmer is uniquely unpopular among Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons, with only 28% having a favourable view of him. By contrast, Black Britons are more likely to have a favourable view of Starmer, with 59% thinking positively of him.

Rishi Sunak is far less popular overall, with only 21% of ethnic minority Britons having a favourable view of him compared to 72% with an unfavourable view. Sunak is of Indian heritage, and Britons of Indian descent are more likely to have a favourable view of him (36%). Indian Britons are, in any case, much more likely to have a favourable view of Keir Starmer (53%).

Nigel Farage is the most unpopular of the politicians we asked about, with only 16% having a favourable view of him compared to 72% with an unfavourable view.

The economy and cost of living

The cost of living is the top concern facing ethnic minority Britons (64%), and separate polling indicates fully 78% think the government is doing badly at managing the issue.

Ethnic minority Britons have been hit harder by the cost of living crisis than the wider public. Two thirds (66%) have made cuts to their usual spending over the course of the cost of living crisis, and 62% anticipate having to make cuts in the near future. This compares to 61% of all Britons who have made cuts (and 54% who think they will have to make further cuts).

Most have experienced some difficulty paying for energy bills (59%) and food (53%) in the last three months, again, being more likely to do so than the wider public (42-48%).

Looking forward, only 22% think their household finances will improve over the next 12 months, while 37% think they will stay the same and 29% think their circumstances will worsen. This makes them slightly more optimistic than the wider public.

When it comes to the economy more generally, two thirds (65%) think the UK economy is in a bad state overall, while just 9% consider it to be in a healthy place – a similar assessment to the population in general.

Over the next 12 months, 36% think the economy will get worse, while 25% expect things to stay the same. One in five (22%) are optimistic things will get better – these views are again broadly in line with that of the overall public.

The legacy of the Conservative government

With the Conservatives in power since 2010, two thirds of ethnic minority Britons (66%) disapprove of their record to date; just 14% approve.

Even more (72%) believe the state of the UK has become worse under the Conservatives, including 50% who say it is “much worse”; and looking at specific policies, at least half identify 15 of 21 areas we asked about to be worse since the Tories have been the governing party, ranging from universities (56%) to the cost of living (85%).

Almost half (45%) consider racial equality in the country to be in a worse state since the Tories came to power; a plurality of all ethnic minority groups share this view. Just 15% think things have got better in this time.


Immigration a significantly less important issue to ethnic minority voters than it is to the wider public – only 17% list it as one of the top issues to how they will vote, compared to 29% of all Britons.

That is not to say that most think immigration levels are satisfactory. The most common view among ethnic minority Britons is that immigration is too high (43%), while 35% think it is about right and a further 10% deem it too low. Those with Indian backgrounds are especially more likely to think immigration levels are currently high (61%), as are older ethnic minority Britons (53-58% of age groups over 50).

Those who were born outside of the UK are more likely than those born in the UK to say immigration is too high (46% vs 39%).

But while more than four in ten ethnic minority Britons might think immigration is too high, only around half as many support making legal routes for immigration – such as worker or family visas – more difficult to obtain (23%). A similar number think the current situation is about right (22%), while 43% think it should be easier to legally migrate to the UK.

Opinions are divided on the impact of immigration over the past decade. A little over one in three (36%) think immigration has been both good and bad for Britain, while a further 30% think it has been mostly good and 19% think it has been mostly bad.

Attitudes vary towards different migrant groups; at least half think positively of those coming to the UK looking for work (50%), people relocating to live with their families in the UK (51%), British citizens moving abroad for work (52%) and foreign citizens setting up businesses in the country (62%). Far fewer have positive opinions of refugees crossing the English Channel to reach the UK (24%).

Despite negativity towards small boat migrants, however, over half (55%) oppose the plans to send some migrants to Rwanda. This is true across most ethnic groups, although Indian Britons are divided – 41% support the Rwanda plan while 37% oppose it.

See the Sky News results here and additional YouGov polling here

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Photo: Getty