Poll shows Labour haemorrhaging Muslim support over Gaza war stance
A new poll suggests the Labour is haemorrhaging support from British Muslims due to the party's handling of Israel's attack on Palestine.
The Labour Muslim Network conducted the new poll with Survation on the political views of British Muslims.
The survey finds that only 43% of British Muslims said they would vote Labour if there were a general election tomorrow — a staggering fall from the 86% that said they voted for Labour in the 2019 general election.
"The results send a clear message: Muslims have lost trust in the Labour Party because of their support for genocide," said the Labour Muslim Network on X, formerly Twitter.
The poll of 682 Muslims across Great Britain found 10% favouring the Green Party (a 9% increase since 2019) and 6% supporting the Liberal Democrats (up 5%) and the Conservatives (down 4%), while 23% remain undecided.
If the undecided voters are included Labour's share of the total British Muslim vote stands at 60% — still a considerable drop compared to previous levels.
A staggering 70% said the position of British political leaders on the Israel-Palestine conflict will be "very important."
It is reflected in the support for the party's leader. When asked whether they felt favourably or unfavourably towards Keir Starmer, most (29%) opted for "strongly unfavourable", an increase of 16% compared to the last poll in 2021.
Labour's stance on the Palestinian cause has bitterly disappointed its Muslim supporters. Especially when compared to Conservatives like David Cameron. Cameron has called for a sustainable ceasefire and even suggested the British government considers recognising Palestinian statehood.
In October, Starmer sparked controversy during an LBC interview where he seemed to say that Israel had the right to withhold power and water from Gaza. A position he was forced to hastily reverse on a few days later.
Starmer also faced rebellion when 10 frontbenchers resigned, and 46 other Labour MPs defied him by backing a parliamentary motion calling for a Gaza ceasefire. Labour MPs were advised not to vote for the truce.
Labour at "crisis point" with British Muslims
"For decades the Muslim community has been amongst the most loyal Labour supporters anywhere in the United Kingdom. The findings of this new opinion poll shows a startling collapse of this electoral and communal relationship." said the Labour Muslim Network in a statement.
"This is a crisis point for the future of the relationship between the British Muslim community and the Labour Party.
"These findings come in the context of over 100 days of Israel's continuous assault on Gaza. Over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed, more than 10,000 of whom are children, and the Labour Party's response has been unacceptable and deeply offensive to Muslims across Britain. Muslim voters have been watching and are now sending a clear message - they will not support any political party that does not fervently oppose the crimes committed against the people of Gaza.
"The Labour leadership must change paths now or risk losing the support of the Muslim community for a generation."
British Muslims' identification with Labour as their natural choice has fallen by 23 percentage points, from 72% in 2021 to 49% this year. Meanwhile, the Labour Party's net favourability is 21%, down 21 percentage points.
Although things seem bad for Labour and Starmer, it's worse for the Tories and Rishi Sunak.
Only 9% of British Muslims identify with the Tories, with net favourability down 11 percentage points to -50%. Sunak's net favourability score is -58 %.
The strength of the Muslim feeling against Labour could be felt in a key upcoming by-election in Rochdale. The February 29th vote follows the passing of veteran Labour MP Tony Lloyd, with many Labour MPs fearing a backlash in this previously safe seat.
Former Labour MP George Galloway is standing in Rochdale. Galloway famously ousted Labour in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005, after capitalising on public outrage over the Iraq war.
Labour's relationship with its Muslim supporters began to sour after Starmer became leader, with accusations that the party isn't taking Islamophobia seriously.
Two years ago, the Forde report made some damning claims about Labour's failure to tackle Islamophobia and racism within the party. One of the issues it highlighted was claims that Labour is undermining Islamophobia and anti-black racism by operating a "hierarchy of racism."
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