Labour Is Losing Muslim Support Over Israel-Gaza War
Labour leader Keir Starmer (Alamy)
A new poll for the Labour Muslim Network has found that support for the Labour party has fallen steeply since the outbreak of the the Israel-Gaza war, with the Muslim community particularly unhappy about the party's failure to call for a ceasefire.
In wider national polling, Labour has consistently held a significant lead over the Conservatives for more than a year now, and is widely expected to win the next election.
But new polling of 682 British Muslims between 18 January and 3 February, conducted by Survation for Labour Muslim Network, found the number of those intending to vote Labour at the next election is currently significantly lower than those who voted for the party in 2019.
According to Survation, among British Muslims surveyed in 2021, 86 per cent said they voted Labour in 2019, while ten per cent said they had voted Conservative and four per cent voted for other parties. Today's poll shows that British Muslims currently planning to vote Labour at the next election was down to 60 percent, with eight per cent planning to vote Conservative and 32 per cent other parties. It is possible that those who answered "don't know" who voted Labour in 2019 will ultimately do so in 2024.
"On this basis, Labour's support among Muslim voters is -26 per cent, The Conservative vote, while small is -2 per cent", Survation said in a statement released alongside the polling.
It follows unhappiness in the Muslim community with the party's position on the war between Israel and Hamas, and Labour's decision not to call for a ceasefire.
Its current position, believed to have been strongly influenced by the US position, is to resist calls for an immediate ceasefire – instead supporting a "humanitarian truce", with a view towards a "sustainable ceasefire".
In a sign of how significant Labour's positioning is on this, 85 per cent of the British Muslims polled by Survation said the stance of political parties on the situation in Israel and Palestine will be an important factor in how they choose to vote at the upcoming general election, due to be called before the end of this year.
More broadly, identification with the Labour party for British Muslims is down from 72 per cent in 2021, to 49 per cent in 2024 – with 38 per cent of British Muslims stating they had a more unfavourable view of the Labour party following the past 12 months.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was also found to have a net favourability of -11 per cent amongst British Muslims, however it was still significantly higher than prime minister Rishi Sunak who polled -58 per cent.
Labour Muslim Network said the findings "shows a startling collapse" of the "electoral and communal relationship" between the Muslim community and Labour.
"This is a crisis point for the future of the relationship between the British Muslim community and the Labour Party," they said.
"These findings come in the context of over 100 days of Israel’s continuous assault on Gaza. Over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed, more than 10,000 of whom are children, and the Labour Party’s response has been unacceptable and deeply offensive to Muslims across Britain.
"Muslim voters have been watching and are now sending a clear message - they will not support any political party that does not fervently oppose the crimes committed against the people of Gaza.
"The Labour leadership must change paths now or risk losing the support of the Muslim community for a generation.”
The stark findings follow a report by The Guardian last week which revealed Labour is separately polling Muslim members over fears in a collapse of the party's most reliable voting demographic.
Correction: The number of British Muslim voters intending to vote Labour at the next election is down 26 per cent compared to those who said they did so at the 2019 election. A previous version of this story said support had halved, a figure which included "don't knows", and was therefore not a like for like comparison with 2019.
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