Ethnic minority voters in the UK 2015 general election: a breakthrough for the Conservative party?

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Electoral Studies


Nicole S. Martin

Publication date


It was widely reported that the 2015 UK general election represented a breakthrough election for the Conservative party among ethnic minority voters – specifically that their vote share among minorities increased, and overtook that of Labour for the first time among some groups. I show that analysis using more representative data yields markedly different results. Looking at (i) party preference from 2010 to 2015, and (ii) reported vote shares from a nationally representative probability survey, I show that the Conservatives increased their support among Hindus - but the Labour party gained in support elsewhere. This is due to movement away from the Liberal Democrats, 2010 minority supporters of the Liberal Democrats moved to supporting Labour rather than the Conservatives in 2015 at a ratio of 2:1. There is also considerable individual-level volatility in party support among ethnic minorities, which is masked by a high level of stability at the aggregate level.

Volume and page numbers

57, 174-185





Politics, Elections. Electoral Behaviour and Ethnic Groups


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  1. Ethnic minority voters in 2015: a breakthrough for the Conservative party?