LONDON – Only 13% of British Jews intend to vote for Labour in the June 8 election, polling by The Jewish Chronicle and research agency Survation revealed.In contrast, 77% intend to vote for the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats polled at 7%, while 2% said they would vote for parties outside the main three.The near monolithic support for the Conservative Party among British Jewry comes at the tail end of a year-long period that has seen repeated antisemitism controversies in Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn. These have included Oxford University Labour Club’s cochairman Alex Chalmers resigning in February 2016 after accusing the group and the university’s left-wing students 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 after he made comments implying Hitler supported Zionism.Of the representative group of 515 British Jews polled last week, when asked to rank the parties on a scale of 1 to 5 if they have an antisemitism problem, those surveyed gave Labour 3.94. In second place was the anti-EU and anti-immigration UK Independence Party with 3.63, with the Liberal Democrats at 2.7 and the Conservatives at 1.96.When asked for a response to the survey’s findings, the Labour said it does not comment on polls.Chris Hopkins, senior project manager at Survation, told The Jerusalem Post that the poll reflects an ongoing trend of declining Jewish support for Labour, which was evident in the 2015 election.
“Labour and Conservative support has changed in our Jewish polling over the last two years” he said. “But I wouldn’t describe any of the changes as surprising. Even in April 2015, when it appeared Ed Miliband was heading for No. 10 and Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a factor in front-line Labour 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.”Prof. Geoffrey Alderman, a historian who has extensively covered British Jews’ involvement in politics for decades and who polled the community from the 1970s to early ’90s, told the Post that “The reservoir of rock-solid Jewish Labour voters that one was once accustomed to in the half century following the Second World War has gone – it’s been breached.” Asked why only 20 years ago Labour had once electorally excelled in seats with high Jewish populations, whereas it now finds 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 Labour Party.”
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