Keir Starmer’s handling of Israel-Palestine conflict makes two in five (41%) Muslim voters feel more negatively towards the Labour Party, according to a new poll of UK Muslims from Savanta.
The polling, conducted online of Muslims living in the UK, also finds that approaching half (45%) are dissatisfied with Keir Starmer’s reaction to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
These figures, released after a number of Labour frontbenchers were sacked or resigned after voting for a SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine conflict, finds even more greater levels of dissatisfaction and negativity towards Labour among Muslims that voted for the party at the 2019 General Election.
However, two-thirds (64%) of Muslims expressing a voting intention say that they’d vote for Starmer’s party, suggesting that the dissatisfaction with Labour’s response may not yet drive them away from Labour at the ballot box.
Negativity & dissatisfaction
Among all Muslims polled, 41% say that Keir Starmer’s handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict makes them feel more negatively about Labour, with a quarter (24%) saying it makes no difference and one in five (19%) saying it makes them feel more positively.
Among 2019 Labour voters, those that now feel more negatively towards the party rises to almost half (48%).
When asked about their satisfaction regarding the reaction of Keir Starmer to the conflict, 45% of UK Muslims say they are dissatisfied, with one in five (19%) saying they are satisfied, a net satisfaction rating of -26.
Among 2019 Labour voters, that net satisfaction rating rises slightly to -29.
However, despite the negativity and dissatisfaction towards Starmer & Labour, UK Muslims tend to be significantly more dissatisfied with the response from the government.
Two thirds (64%) of UK Muslims say they are dissatisfied with the response of the UK government to the conflict, rising to 69% for Rishi Sunak specifically. Rishi Sunak’s net satisfaction rating (-56) is more than twice that of Keir Starmer (-26).
Despite this, there doesn’t appear to be any major movement away from Labour among UK Muslims in terms of their voting intention.
Of those expressing a voting intention, the poll finds that two thirds (64%) of UK Muslims would vote Labour if there were an election tomorrow, compared to one in five (19%) that would vote Conservative.
Fewer than one in ten (9%) would vote Liberal Democrat, with 5% voting for the Green Party and 3% voting for another party.
This implies that 84% of UK Muslims who voted for the Labour Party at the 2019 General Election would vote for the party again, a much higher voter retention than the Conservatives (62%).
When including undecided voters, the poll suggests that 9% of 2019 Labour voters are currently undecided, with small proportions moving to the Lib Dems (6%) and the Greens (5%).
And while just 55% of 2019 Labour voters say that they’re certain to vote (10/10 on a 0-10 scale) at the next General Election, this is not statistically siginificantly smaller than 2019 Conservative voters (61%).
For comparison, in Savanta’s most recent UK-wide voting intention, 69% of 2019 Labour voters implied they are certain to vote at the next election.
Muslim voters say that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the fourth most important issue when deciding how to vote at the next election (33% ranked in top three).
The conflict is behind inflation and the cost of living (45%), the NHS (39%) and the economy (36%) in importance, although ranks well ahead of the fifth most important issue (housing, 20%).
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “This poll of UK Muslims tends to indicate that the Israel-Palestine conflict is very important as an issue, and the response from the Labour Party has not been viewed especially positively.
“However, Labour appears to be retaining three-quarters of its Muslim vote from 2019, with little significant movement to other parties, and although the net satisfaction rating for Keir Starmer’s handling of the conflict is overwhelmingly negative, it’s far better than that of the government and Rishi Sunak.”
“The longer Labour’s divisions over this issue plays out, we could see more Muslim voters abandon the party, but the suggestion that Muslim voters, en masse, are no longer willing to vote Labour due to its response over Israel-Palestine, seem wildly exaggerated if this poll is anything to go by.”