17 May 2016

EU poll – ethnic minorities hold the balance of power

Channel 4 News has had an exclusive preview of the British Election Study’s latest survey of opinion on Europe. With a massive sample, 22,000 voters, it allows us to peer inside what is happening in the ethnic minority communities and the results are fascinating.


Table 1 suggests that opinion amongst white voters, polled up to 4 May, is absolutely neck and neck. But opinion amongst ethnic minority voters breaks 2 to 1 in favour of Remain. That, in these numbers, makes the difference and delivers a 43 per cent to 40.5 per cent victory for Remain over Leave (Don’t Knows excluded):

17_bes_table1

But look at Table 2 and you see what impact differential turnout could have. If you only take into account voters who are “very likely to vote” then Leave support amongst white voters jumps up 4 per cent. Ethnic minority voting now doesn’t do enough heavy lifting for Remain because of lower turnout in BAME communities. The overall result in this polling ends up at 45 per cent Leave and 44.5 per cent Remain:

17_bes_table2

Go to Table 3 and you see what the different turnout in different communities looks like according to this survey. It suggests that turnout in BAME communities is 20 to 25 per cent lower than amongst white voters. And this doesn’t take into account lower registration rates amongst BAME voters:

17_bes_table3

You’ll see that the sample size numbers (the “N” column in each table) shows relatively small samples for different ethnic minority groups, particularly voters of Bangladeshi origin. But the experts at the University of Manchester, who have weighted the samples to be representative of the general population, believe that the margin of lead for Remain in each community is so large that the overall picture, a strong lead for Remain in BAME communities, is robust. The full tables and other data from this survey will be published at the end of this month.

You can see the poll explained along with voices from Birmingham and London BAME communities in our report tonight at 7pm, followed by a live discussion amongst BAME communities which is presented by Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Leicester.

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