Labour and Conservatives losing the Muslim vote

Written by Muslim Census Team
Published October 26, 2023

Survey of over 30,000 suggests an emphatic drop of Labour support amongst Muslims.

Key Findings – 

  • Responses show a drop of 66% in potential Labour votes, from 71% to just 5%.
  • Conservative vote also dropping from 9%, to just 0.6% amongst survey participants.
  • Almost all respondents claimed the change in voting intention has been as a result of the reaction to events in Israel and Palestine.
  • The majority of respondents stated that their votes moved away from Labour or Conservative, to one of the following: abstaining to vote, Independent candidates, and the Green Party.


Muslim Census, alongside MEND, conducted a snapshot survey to understand the impact of the Labour and Conservative parties’ reaction to events in Israel and Palestine on how British Muslims intend to vote.

The survey was published on Tuesday, 17th October and has since gained over 30,000 responses from British Muslims across the UK. The survey received responses from 580 of the 650 Westminster Parliamentary constituencies.  A visual representation, akin to a heat map, will be produced to illustrate the impact on each constituency represented in the sample and to highlight how changes is Muslim voting sentiments can affect electoral outcomes.

For us to be able to produce a heat map representing each constituency at scale, the survey was distributed across several channels including mailing lists and social media. To protect data integrity, all duplicate emails and devices were removed to ensure unique responses. Further data cleansing processes were also applied to ensure postcode-level accuracy.

Muslims have taken note.

Following events in Israel and Palestine, where innocent lives have been lost on both sides, the British public have taken note of how our two major parties have responded.

People up and down the country have especially taken note of what Labour Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, described as a lack of “sympathy for the plight of Palestinians”. 

There has been a consistent and unsettling message shared by our political leaders which is that Israel has the right to defend itself with impunity, despite contravening International Law. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, emphasised this speaking on LBC Radio when he stated Israel had the “right” to cut off water, electricity and aid to Gaza – violating international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.

Rishi Sunak has voiced his “unequivocal support” for Israel and has visited Jewish communities in the UK to share his sympathies. The near 5,000 lives lost, and continued suffering, on the Palestinian side seemingly do not require the same level of thought or care.

Muslims across the UK have remained alert to this apparent disregard for the Palestinian struggle. Our survey found that almost all Muslims (98%) have a negative view of how the Labour and Conservative Party have responded.

The Labour party at risk of losing 66% of the Muslim vote.

For our survey which attracted over 30,000 responses, we asked who participants voted for in the 2019 General Election, and who they would vote for if there were an election tomorrow. The results demonstrate how the handling of the ongoing crisis has impacted Muslim perceptions of the two major political parties.

  • In the 2019 Election, our participants voted:
    • 71% – Labour
    • 12% – Did not vote
    • 9% – Conservatives
    • 2.5% – Liberal Democrats
    • 2% – Green Party
    • 1.6% – SNP
    • 1.2% – Independent
    • 0.7% – Other
  • If there were an election tomorrow, our participants responded:
    • 40% – Will not vote
    • 21% – Independent
    • 17% – Green Party
    • 10% – Liberal Democrat
    • 4.9% – SNP
    • 4.8% – Labour
    • 0.6% – Conservative
    • 3.5% – Other

Our sample of 30,000 Muslims shows 71% of Muslims voted Labour, and 9% voted the Conservative Party in the 2019 General Election. This concurs with the Survation poll in 2021, stating 72% of Muslims feel most aligned with the Labour Party.

However, the fall in voting sentiment towards both parties should cause alarm. Just 5% of responses said that they would vote for the Labour Party if there was an election tomorrow, and less than 1% for the Conservative Party.

If a 66% drop in the Muslim Labour vote were to occur at the next general election, this could result in a loss of 1.5 million Muslim voters.

The Muslim vote has the potential to swing several seats across the UK as MEND have previously found. It seems the possibility of the Muslim vote having a deciding impact is now likelier than ever before.

Both the scale and speed of response to the survey indicates an increasing political  engagement of the British Muslim community. When compared to the shift away from the Labour party following the 2003 Iraq war, our survey suggests a greater change in public mood, indicating that this may be a watershed moment in British Muslim voting history.

This could be attributed to increased political awareness and social engagement, as many British Muslims are now four generations assimilated. It also demonstrates the severity of the international political situation.

More broadly, it suggests that the Muslim electorate, who have historically aligned themselves with Labour, have greater and more complex political interests and needs that cannot be assumed to align with any political party and thus Muslims can no longer be subject to political complacencies. In any case, with a 6.5% share of the British population, the youngest age profile of all religious groups, and given their concentration in inner city conurbations, it is clear the political and electoral implications will be far reaching.

The Muslim Census team are working on providing a heat map with the survey findings to show this constituency level impact. This shall be shared and linked to this article soon.

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