General Election 2024: How will Britain's ethnically diverse communities vote?

Britain could soon have its most diverse parliament ever but how will voters from ethnically diverse communities behave at the ballot box?

The voting trends of such groups are incredibly complex and varied. There is no single narrative but several themes stick out from YouGov's exclusive polling for Sky News.

Most notably, the handling of the conflict in the Middle East has damaged the two major parties in the eyes of British Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. This is something the Labour Party, in particular, is very sensitive too.

Labour have historically fared well with these voters and 53% of ethnic minority voters we polled said they would vote for the party - that's a greater lead than polls we've done with the general population.

However, the Tories fare worse among ethnic minority voters on the whole - in this poll they are neck and neck with the Green Party at 14%.

But, if we drill into the detail, 32% of British Indians said they would vote Conservative - 12% higher than the general population. This is a good reminder that there is a huge variation in voting trends among communities.

Reform UK polled much worse with ethnically diverse communities than the population at large - they're on 7% - but they're still one point above the Lib Dems.

Political priorities

When it comes to the issues ethnically diverse voters care most about - it's not that different to society as a whole.

The cost of living is the highest priority for the voters we polled. In the dataset representing the general population, the NHS comes up top, and the cost of living is second.

The starkest difference is on housing which ranks much higher for the group made up of ethnic minorities.

The conflict in Gaza and Israel also polled higher - which 41% of British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis marked as a priority.

The 'Gaza Effect'

Looking in detail at the Labour Party's record, more than half of all ethnically diverse voters we polled think Labour have dealt with the war in Israel and Gaza badly - that's higher than the general population, 47% of whom felt the party had dealt with the conflict badly.

But within the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community, a stark 78% don't think Labour has performed well - despite the party now calling for a ceasefire.

This is what polling experts are calling a "Gaza Effect".

Although the party's foreign policy stance has been damaging, it's important to note that overall support for Labour among ethnically diverse communities, including Pakistanis and Bangladeshis is still higher than it is across the population as a whole.

But the party isn't being complacent.

Labour's campaign app has been directing activists to help defend 16 constituencies, most of which have majority diverse communities.

One seat on that list is surprising - Shabana Mahmood's constituency of Birmingham Ladywood.

It should be one of Labour's safest seats in the UK - with a majority of over 28,000 votes, but with a high number of voters who care passionately about the conflict in the Middle East, Labour now appear to now be campaigning defensively here.

Read more:
Starmer plays down Bangladesh row

Are you two the best candidates for PM?
Final leader's debate 'ends in draw'

While the overall scale of the impact is almost impossible to predict, and the sentiment represented by these figures doesn't necessarily translate into votes or even seats, what is clear is that Labour support in some areas with high numbers of ethnically diverse communities could be waning long term.

And that could be a much bigger problem for the party if - as the polls suggest - they make it into government.

It is understood that the Labour Party has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as well as the immediate release of all hostages, and unimpeded humanitarian access into Gaza.

Candidates standing in the Birmingham Ladywood Constituency

Zoe Challenor: Green Party

Lee Dargue: Liberal Democrats

Shabana Mahmood: Labour Party

Shazna Muzammil: Conservative and Unionist Party

Akhmed Yakoob: Independent

Irene Yoong-Henery: Reform UK