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Labour losing support among British Indian voters, says India Inc opinion poll

By Anuj Cariappa
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London, Nov 20: The first ever poll of British Indian voters has revealed a major decline in the support for Labour and a significant vote up for grabs. The London based media group India Inc. and Washington DC based Daya analytics firm, Optimus conducted the first ever election survey of British Indian voter intention through a YouGov poll from November 13 to November 18 in which a wide ranging number of political questions about the United Kingdom, Brexit, as well as UK-Indian relations were asked.

Major decline in support for Labour reveals first ever poll of British Indian voters

One of the main findings was that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn are almost equally disliked as prime ministerial candidates among the Indian-origin electorate ahead of the December 12 General Election.

According to Manoj Ladwa, the founder and CEO of India Inc. the poll confirms what many have being saying for some time now, that Labour is losing its traditional support from Britain's 1.5 million strong Indian community. The staggering finding is the extent to which Indians are deserting Labour. This will certainly worry Labour campaign managers."

Ladwa further said that the the poll demonstrates British Indians can no longer be treated as a 'block vote' that can be taken for granted by any political party. They have become a much more discerning electoral group that are prioritising mainstream UK economic and political issues. But at the same time British Indians want to see more improved ties between the UK and India, and greater focus on trade and investment.

"Fifty-three per cent of British Indians report holding an unfavourable opinion of Jeremy Corbyn, compared to only 28 per cent who say they have a favourable view of him. Comparatively, Boris Johnson fares worse, with 61 per cent having an unfavourable opinion and 23 per cent saying they have a favourable view," notes the India Inc.

Labour's woes are largely linked to a controversial motion on Kashmir passed at its party conference which struck an anti-India note among diaspora groups, something the party has been struggling to overcome. In comparison, the Conservatives are down four points since 2017, with the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats showing the most statistical hike among Indian-origin voters of 10 percentage points - reflective of the centrality of Britain's relationship with the European Union (EU) in this election campaign.

Among the other key findings of the British Indian survey include that more British Indians believe UK-India relations would worsen under a Labour government led by Corbyn in comparison with a Tory government led by Johnson. Nearly 47 per cent of respondents said they believe that the UK should do more to improve trade and investment with India and an overwhelming majority of British Indians prefer to remain in the European Union and are strongly opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

Most significantly, the survey throws up an 18 per cent undecided set of British Indian voters, higher than the national average of undecided voters ahead of the polls next month, leaving a large chunk of diaspora voters up for grabs for all major political parties.

"The India Inc 0ptimus Poll confirms what many have been saying for some time now, that Labour is losing its traditional support from Britain's 1.5 million strong Indian community. The staggering finding is the extent to which Indians are deserting Labour. This will certainly worry Labour campaign managers," said Manoj Ladwa, founder and CEO of London-headquartered India Inc.

"With nearly a fifth of British Indians still undecided, and 15 constituencies in which Asians, including Indians, constitute over 40 per cent of the population, 46 constituencies in which they constitute over 20 per cent, and 122 constituencies in which they constitute over 10 per cent, a continued shift towards the Conservative party among British Indian voters could be decisive in many seats," he said.

The survey concludes: "Overall, this shrinks the Labour lead among British Indians from 17 points in 2017 to only 10 for the upcoming election. Liberal Democrats are the only party to see a statistically significant increase from 2017 to 2019, jumping 10 percentage points in two years (from 8 per cent to 18 per cent).

"Nearly half of party switchers (47 per cent) reported changing support due to Brexit policy, and an additional 9 per cent say that it is due to the respective parties' attitudes towards British Indians."

More British Indians (28 per cent) think that if Corbyn became Prime Minister, UK-India relations would "get worse" compared to if Johnson remained Prime Minister (25 per cent). On the flip side, similar numbers think Johnson would "improve" bilateral relations with India (17 per cent) compared to Corbyn (18 per cent).

"With nearly a fifth of British Indians still undecided, and 15 constituencies in which Asians, including Indians, constitute over 40% of the population, 46 constituencies in which they constitute over 20%, and 122 constituencies in which they constitute over 10%, a continued shift towards the Conservative party among British Indian voters could be decisive in many seats. Above all, the India Inc. - Optimus Poll highlights that all major political parties have a lot to play for in attracting the critical British Indian vote," says Ladwa.

Key highlights:

  • Labour Party declines 12-Points among British Indians since 2017 General Election.

  • A majority of British Indians dislike both Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson.

  • More British Indians believe that UK-India Relations would worsen under Jeremy Corbyn than Boris Johnson.

  • 47% of British Indians believe that the UK should do more to improve trade & investment with India

  • Overwhelming Majority of British Indians prefer to remain in the European Union and do not support No Deal Brexit.

  • 18 per cent of respondents are still undecided - higher than most recent UK polling as a whole.

  • About India Inc.

    India Inc. is a London-based media group that produces incisive content on investment, trade and policy matters relating to India's increasingly globalised economic and strategic agenda. Its flagship publication is the fortnightly 'India Global Business'. It also publishes each year the '100 Most Influential in UK India Relations'. In addition, India Inc. organises several high impact events annually in the UK, including India Global Week, India Inc. Leaders' Summit and the India Global Awards.

    About Optimus:

    Optimus is a Data Science firm based in Washington D.C. which provides quantitative and qualitative research solutions for presidential campaigns, Fortune 500 companies and non-profits around the world.

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