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Sunak and Starmer Struggle to Connect: Unprecedented Unpopularity in Diverse Communities Amid ‘The Gaza Effect

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Polls indicate both Sunak and Starmer are historically unpopular among minority groups, according to data presented to Sky News. The prime minister has recorded the lowest popularity figures among these communities, with Sir Keir trailing behind former leaders Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Analysts have referred to this as "The Gaza Effect."

Political reporter @serenabarksing

Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 8:

Recent polls indicate that both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer are experiencing unprecedented low levels of support from minority ethnic groups.

The voting patterns of ethnically diverse communities are often intricate and challenging to forecast, yet certain polls can provide valuable insights into the nation's sentiment.

A detailed collection of survey results from Ipsos, provided exclusively to Sky News, offers a snapshot of the current performance of the leaders from the two primary political parties.

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Sunak favored more by white electorate

Mr. Sunak's appointment as the UK's new leader coincided with the celebration of Diwali, highlighting a significant moment in Britain's development as a diverse and pluralistic nation.

The UK's new prime minister is not only the first from an ethnically diverse background and the first Hindu to hold the office, but the level of support he has received from ethnically diverse communities for achieving these milestones is unexpectedly modest.

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In the last twelve months, his popularity has decreased by 53 points among various ethnic groups.

This statistic is also unprecedented, marking one of the lowest ratings for a prime minister in almost three decades.

Based on these statistics, white voters have a more favorable opinion of him, with a rating of -41.

It's not unexpected, considering that historically, ethnically diverse communities have predominantly supported the Labour Party.

Support for the Conservative Party peaked at 30% in early 2016, but experienced a significant decline following the Brexit referendum and continued to drop during the 2017 general election under new leadership.

Sir Keir Trails Blair and Brown

The Labour Party is currently facing significant pressure as they position themselves as champions of equality, progressive politics, and advocates for racially diverse communities, who have historically shown strong support for the party.

For many years, the party has maintained a significant advantage among voters from various ethnic backgrounds, with this trend continuing under past Labour leadership, often receiving high satisfaction ratings.

Recent data shows that Sir Keir Starmer is viewed more positively compared to the sitting prime minister, holding an average satisfaction score of -32 over the past year.

However, his approval ratings are notably higher among white voters.

When these figures are contrasted with those of past Labour leaders, the difference is more pronounced.

Presently, Sir Keir has reached a record low in popularity among black and South Asian voters, marking the poorest showing for a Labour leader in this demographic since 1996.

Significantly lower than the lowest approval ratings of Tony Blair, who hit -11 during the Iraq War, or Gordon Brown, who reached -13.

"Impact of Gaza"

Currently, a variety of factors have led individuals and diverse communities to move away from mainstream political parties and usual voting behaviors. Ipsos has identified a particular strand of discontent with both parties, which they refer to as "The Gaza Effect".

In the latest by-elections and local elections, there was a noticeable trend of independent candidates, including notably George Galloway in Rochdale, campaigning primarily on a single-issue agenda. This data provides an insight into the extent of that prevailing attitude.

When you examine the overall happiness scores throughout the year for both leaders, it's evident that the ratings differ between ethnically diverse communities and white voters.

Stay updated on the most recent developments from the UK and globally by tuning into Sky News.

For white voters, there is virtually no change in their satisfaction with the two leaders after October 7.

When examining how voters from ethnically diverse communities rate the two leaders, there is a clear decline in support.

For Mr. Sunak, the decline is relatively modest at about 13 points, whereas for Sir Keir, the decrease is much more substantial, plummeting by 29 points.

The extent of the consequences is difficult to forecast, and a decline in these numbers may not directly correspond to a shift in voting behavior or seat allocation. However, what is evident is that both political parties must enhance their offerings to multicultural communities if they hope to secure their support in the upcoming election.

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