Exclusive: Detailed polling shows that Indian, Caribbean and African voters are abandoning the party
By Georgia Graham, Political Correspondent
Labour have seen a collapse in their crucial ethnic minority vote since 2010 in a blow for Ed Miliband with three quarters of Indian voters abandoning the party.
Influential pollsters say that Labour are mistaken in their belief they are “sitting pretty” with the ethnic minority vote and Indian, Pakistani and African voters are turning away from the party in huge numbers.
The number of Indian voters identifying with the Labour party has fallen from 77 per cent in 1997 to just 18 per cent in 2014 – a fall of over three quarters, according to the figures from the British Election Study.
Pakistani support has fallen from 77 to 57 per cent, a fall of 27 per cent. Meanwhile Carribean support has dropped 14 per cent from 78 to 67 per cent.
Support from the African community has dropped by 20 per cent, from 79 to 63 per cent, the research shows.
The survey will be difficult reading for Mr Miliband as his party sees loyal support among ethnic minority voters disappear just as the numbers of ethnic minority voters in Britain increase.
According to recent research one in three people in Britain will be from an ethnic minority within a generation with non-white people will making up between 20 and 30 per cent of the population by 2050. The current share is around 14 per cent.
Dr Maria Sobolewska, an expert from Manchester University and part of the team conducting the Ethnic Minority British Election Study, told a conference this month: “What is happening is that the Labour party is sitting pretty, or at least they think they are sitting pretty, they think they have the minorities is the bag.
“The ethnic minorities are seen to be the core of Labour party vote, they have been for years, for decades but I will make these people here representing Labour a little bit uncomfortable about this assumption that minorities will vote for them as a matter of course.
Data from the BES shows how the ethnic minority vote has abandoned the party in recent years
She added: “Labour is not really sitting pretty on ethnic minorities anymore and in fact it wasn’t in 2010 either… we can already see that a lot of the ethnic minority groups, in fact all of the ethnic minority groups supported Labour a lot less even in 2010, but this did not yet make Labour worried.
“Looking at the 2014 figures I am hoping that all of you from the Labour party are shifting uncomfortably in your seats. This is a disaster.
“The percentage of people who identify with the Labour party is falling very fast.”
The Conservatives, who only attracted 16 per cent of black and ethnic minority (BME) voters at the last election have, in recent years, set their sights on winning more over to counteract the losses they have made to Ukip.
The party’s election chief Lynton Crosby has said the the party must do more to attract the vote, and has told MPs they should take tips from Boris Johnson, the London Mayor.
In October Mr Crosby told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference that the campaign he ran in the capital for Johnson in 2012 saw “Boris outperform the Conservative party by 40% in the BME [black minority ethnic] communities.”
However Dr Sobolewska says that although the Tories believe many BME voters should be “natural ‘small c’ Conservatives” they have had little luck winning over any of the voters leaving the Labour party.
She told the conference: “The Conservatives have been trying to win some of this vote because they think that ethnic minorities are natural small ‘c’ Conservatives.
“And they have been trying for a while, but they don’t think for the effort they are putting in they are getting enough back – in fact they think what is going to happen to them is this so-called death by demographics that has been advertised as something that is already happening to the republicans in the US.”