In the United States, many Republicans know that they must win over far more black and Hispanic voters. If they don’t, their chances of winning the White House will progressively diminish as the country’s ethnic mix changes.
In Britain, the Conservatives face a similar challenge, if not (yet) as big. YouGov’s analysis of 4,000 ethnic minority voters, surveyed in the past four months, shows that the Tories have won over Britain’s Chinese community but no others. Labour retains a big lead among all the other groups — and, in the case of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black African and Caribbean voters, by margins of more than 50 per cent.
Since 2010, the Tories have lost almost half of their support among voters without university degrees with family roots in Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. The government’s rhetoric on immigration appears to have offended many in these groups.
However, our survey also points to signs of hope for the Conservatives. Their 52 per cent support among Chinese-Britons and 30 per cent among Indian-Britons show that a non-white skin and overseas roots do not translate automatically into anti-Tory sentiment.
Part of the difference between white and ethnic minority loyalties flows from differences in their age profiles. One in three white voters is over 60 (the age group most inclined to vote Conservative), compared with well under 10 per cent of ethnic minority voters. In time, the proportion of older ethnic minority voters will rise, and this could help the Tories.
Ethnic minority graduates are now much more likely to vote Conservative than those without degrees. As the proportion of graduates rises, so should the proportion of black and Asian voters backing the Tories.
Mixed-race voters are far less likely to vote Labour than those without any white parents or grandparents. The Tories have yet to benefit much: these voters are more likely to choose the Greens, Liberal Democrats, SNP and Ukip. Peter Kellner is president of YouGov