Polling by The Jewish Chronicle and research agency Survation has revealed that only 13% of British Jews are intending to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party at the upcoming British general election on June 8, in contrast with 77% who intend to vote for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party. The Liberal Democrats polled at 7%, whilst 2% said that they would vote be voting for parties outside of the UK’s main three.
The near monolithic support for the Conservative Party among British Jewry comes at the tail end of a year long period which has seen repeat antisemitism controversies in Labor, from Oxford University Labor Club’s co-chair Alex Chalmers resigning in February 2016 after accusing the group and the university’s student left of having “some kind of problem with Jews”, to the party’s decision at the beginning of April 2017 not to expel former London mayor Ken Livingstone in the aftermath of making comments implying Hitler supported Zionism.
Of the representative group of 515 British Jews polled last week, when asked to rank the British political parties on a scale of 1 to 5 with regards to whether or not they had an antisemitism problem (with 1 meaning there are “low levels of antisemitism among the political party’s members and elected representatives” and 5 representing “high levels”,) those surveyed gave Labor 3.94 out of five. In second place was the anti-EU and anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) on 3.63 out of five, with the Liberal Democrats on 2.7 and the Conservatives on 1.96.
When asked for a response to the survey’s findings, the Labor Party stated that it does not comment on individual polls.
Speaking to the Post, Chris Hopkins, Senior Project Manager at Survation, noted that the polling reflects an ongoing trend in declining Jewish support for the Labor party that was evident in the 2015 election. “Labor and Conservative support has changed in our Jewish polling over the last two years” he said, “[B]ut I wouldn’t describe any of the changes as surprising”, adding “Even in April 2015 when it appeared Ed Miliband was heading for Number 10 and Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a factor in front-line Labor politics, the party was only receiving 22% of the vote in our Jewish polling, with more than two-thirds of respondents planning to vote Conservative.
Professor Geoffrey Alderman, a historian who has extensively covered British Jews involvement in politics for decades and polled the community throughout the 1970s, 80 and early 90s, argued in conversation with the Post that “The reservoir of rock solid Jewish Labor voters that one was once accustomed to in the half century following the Second World War has gone – it’s been breached.” Pushed on why only 20 year ago in 1997 Labor had once electorally excelled in seats with high Jewish populations whereas now found itself lagging behind, Alderman noted that “Tony Blair was regarded as a friend of the Jewish people and a friend of Israel. That pedigree is not enjoyed by the present leadership of the Labor Party.”