Left out of the left behind: ethnic minority support for Brexit

Publication type

Research Paper

Authors

Nicole Martin, Maria Sobolewska and Neema Begum

Publication date

Summary

This paper considers ethnic minority support for Brexit. We argue that accounts of ‘left behind’ working class support for leaving the European Union do not consider that many people in working class jobs or with a low return to their human capital are not white, but from one of the established ethnic minority groups in the UK. We use data from a probability sample of the UK’s population to establish levels of support for Brexit among different ethnic groups. Experiences of harassment are unrelated to Brexit support, but immigrants who believe they cannot ‘get ahead’ in the UK are more supportive of it. Socio-economic indicators of disadvantage (education, class, subjective financial situation) also predict greater support for Leave, suggesting that relative deprivation is a source of support for Brexit among ethnic minorities just as among the white British. Nevertheless, ethnic minorities are more supportive of Remain than comparable white Britons. Partisanship does not explain these differences. This article contributes to the literature on Euroscepticism in Britain, and to our understanding of how much different ethnic groups support the forthcoming changes to how the UK is governed.

Subjects

Politics, Public Opinion, Psychology, Elections. Electoral Behaviour, Demography, Economics, Ethnic Groups and Social Stratification

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