Left Out of the Left Behind: Ethnic Minority Support for Brexit

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The Brexit referendum was a seismic electoral event with far-reaching consequences, but ethnic minority voters’ decisions in the referendum remain under-researched. We examine what differentiates ethnic minority Remainers from Leavers in two large social surveys. Ethnic minority voters were divided along ethnocentric and generational lines, similarly to majority voters. Those who were born overseas were more likely to support Brexit; meanwhile, younger minorities and those born in the UK were more supportive of Remain, like their young white British counterparts. We show that anti-immigrant attitudes, including views on Turkey joining the EU, mattered for ethnic minority Leavers, as well as sovereignty concerns. Our results reveal that the factors that led minorities to vote to leave the EU were not altogether different from those identified for white British voters. We argue the concept of left behind can include minorities, and research must therefore consider what role whiteness plays in this concept.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Mar 2024


  • Brexit
  • ethnicity
  • Muslims-Britain
  • elections
  • referendums

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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