A recent survey conducted by Muslim Census is set to send shockwaves through the UK’s political landscape. The survey, which is still live and has already garnered over 30,000 Muslim responses, indicates a dramatic shift in the voting intentions of the Muslim community following political leadership statements on Gaza. These interim findings highlight a substantial decline in support for the Labour Party and the Conservative Party among Muslim voters.
The survey, published on Tuesday, October 17, reveals the following key findings.
1. Overwhelming Dissatisfaction with Major Parties
A staggering 98% of respondents expressed a negative view of both the Conservative and Labour parties due to their responses to the illegal war crimes carried out by Israel in Gaza. These numbers suggest a profound sense of disillusionment within the Muslim community.
2. Impact on Voting Intention
The change in voting intention has been significantly impacted by recent events in Palestine and Israel, with 96% of respondents reporting that their voting decisions have been influenced by these events.
At least 23 Labour councillors also resigned over the horrifying remarks of Labour leader Keir Starmer when he endorsed the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. In an interview with LBC, Starmer suggested that Israel has the “right” to cut off power and water from Gaza. He has since backtracked on the comments, saying he “was not saying Israel had the right to cut off water, food, fuel or medicines”. Despite his backtracking, Labour has refused to publicly call for a ceasefire.
In an attempt to win over Muslim voters, Starmer then visited the South Wales Islamic Centre where he caused further divide as the mosque said they were dismayed by his social media post that gravely misrepresented the event which has led to further hurt and confusion amongst the Muslim community.
3. A Drastic Drop in Support for the Labour Party amongst Muslims
Perhaps the most alarming revelation is the 66% drop in support for the Labour Party among those who participated in the survey. If these figures were extrapolated to the entire Muslim population using the ONS Census 2021 data, Labour could potentially lose the support of over 1.5 million Muslim voters in the UK.
Azhar Qayum, CEO of MEND, emphasises the need for Labour to recognise this seismic shift in the Muslim vote, saying, “This survey should be a seismic wake-up call for the Labour leadership. It cannot take the Muslim vote for granted anymore. If the party wants to retain this vote, on issues like the genocide in Gaza, it will have to ensure its positions are in line with international law and justice.”
4. Conservative Vote Affected
The Conservative Party also experienced an 8% drop in support among respondents, indicating that both major parties are struggling to maintain the Muslim vote.
Sadiq Dorasat, Founder of Muslim Census, highlights the urgency of the situation, stating, “To receive over 30,000 responses in the space of a week shows how important and pressing this topic is for British Muslims. The responses show an overwhelming shift in the Muslim sentiment towards our main political parties. It is up to our political leaders to respond and reassure our communities moving forwards.”
5. Swing Seats and Election Impact
The Muslim vote is increasingly seen as a crucial factor in deciding election outcomes, with the potential to swing seats across the UK. In the 2019 Election, the Muslim votes were distributed as follows:
However, if an election were held tomorrow, the Muslim vote would look markedly different, with 38% choosing not to vote, 21% favouring Independent candidates, and significant shifts in support for other parties as shown below.
The findings of the Muslim Census survey underscore the significant changes in the political landscape, reflecting the shifting sentiments of Muslim voters in the UK. With the potential to influence election outcomes, it is clear that both major parties will need to reassess their approach to issues related to Israel and Palestine if they wish to retain the support of the Muslim community.
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