Majority of UKIP voters would be 'uncomfortable' with non-white PM
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Central Government
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A third of the British public would be "uncomfortable" with an ethnic minority prime minister, a survey has revealed.
And the YouGov poll found that among Ukip voters the figure was nearly double, with 59% saying that they didn't like the idea of the UK being run by a non-white.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the research for Demos and Birkbeck College is part of a study about responses to ethnic change in Britain, which is focusing on how comfortable or uncomfortable the public feels about people from ethnic minorities in certain roles.
The study reveals widespread discomfort at non-whites filling various positions. Nearly half (45%) of Ukip voters went as far to say that they were "very uncomfortable" with the idea of a non-white PM.
A sizeable amount of supporters of other parties also expressed distaste at the idea of a non-white prime minister. Over four in 10 (41%) of people who plan to vote Conservative, nearly three in 10 (28%) of Labour supporters and a quarter (25%) of Liberal Democrats say they are “uncomfortable” at the prospect of a prime minister from an ethnic minority.
Professor Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck College said: "Differences between party supporters are not explained by divergent age, education, regional or class profiles. Young university-educated London Tories are significantly less comfortable with a minority prime minister than young university-educated London Liberal Democrats."
The survey also asked how people feel about non-whites filling other positions of responsibility and found that one in six (18%) would be uncomfortable with a non-white babysitter.
Once again, Ukip voter's showed the greatest apprehension with the idea of a babysitter from an ethnic minority, with 32% saying they would be "uncomfortable" compared with 22% who would be "comfortable".
However, the opposite is true among backers of the other parties. Nearly half (45%) of Conservatives would be happy with a non-white babysitter compared with 16% who would be troubled by it, with similar numbers for Labour (48% and 18%). More than half (56%) of Liberal Democrats would be comfortable with the idea and 12% would be uncomfortable at the prospect.
The research additionally found that all the parties were closely aligned when asked about non-whites being part of the respondent’s peer group.
Over four in 10 (45%) prospective UKIP voters would be comfortable having a friend from an ethnic minority, compared to 58% of Conservatives and 57% of Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters. By comparison, 10% of UKIP supporters would be uncomfortable having a non-white friend, similar numbers to Conservatives (9%), Labour (9%) and Liberal Democrats (13%).
The study polled 1,869 British adults aged over 18 in July this year.
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