Research Paper SSRN Research Paper Series
Ethnic minority voters in 2015: a breakthrough for the Conservative party?
It is widely assumed by politicians and journalists that the 2015 UK general election represented a breakthrough election for the Conservative party, where their vote share among ethnic minority voters increased, and overtook that of Labour for the first time among some groups. I show that this conclusion was based on misleading data, and that using more representative data yields markedly different results. The Conservatives increased their support among Hindus, but the Labour party gained in support elsewhere. This is due to movement away from the Liberal Democrats; 2010 ethnic minority supporters of the Liberal Democrats moved to supporting Labour rather than the Conservatives in 2014 at a ratio of 3:1. There is also considerable individual-level volatility in Labour and Conservative support among ethnic minorities, which is masked by a high level of stability at the aggregate level. There has not been a major dealignment between 2010 and 2014, nor has Labour support among ethnic minority groups decreased; for every group but Sikhs, support for Labour remained the same or increased. Nevertheless, there is increasing divergence between different ethnic minority groups in their patterns of party support, with black Africans and Caribbeans remaining or increasingly supportive of Labour, but slightly less electoral support for Labour among Indians (of all religious groups), Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.