A new poll shows the Conservative rank-and-file hold Islamophobic attitudes

And there's every reason to believe it. 

NS

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A YouGov poll commissioned by Hope not Hate has further highlighted the full extent of Islamophobia within the Conservative party. 60 per cent of Tory members believe that “Islam is generally a threat to Western civilisation”, and 54 per cent believe that “Islam is generally a threat to the British way life”, according to the new poll. It comes after another poll by the same organisation found that a series of Islamophobic tropes were believed by the majority of Conservative members.

Some Conservatives are querying the accuracy of the poll. As I have written at great length, opinion polling is getting harder all the time, but very few of those trends apply to political parties. The issues making it harder to poll elections are a) accurately predicting turnout b) avoiding overly-politicised samples. (That was part of the 2015 poll failure: 2010 Liberal Democrat voters who followed politics closely tended to vote Labour in 2015 or to stick with the Liberal Democrats. 2010 Liberal Democrat voters who did not follow politics as closely overwhelming went for the Conservatives.)

But those issues are not present in membership polling. YouGov, whose panel approach allows them to identify Conservative members and survey them over long periods in ways other pollsters cannot, have an impeccable pedigree in gauging the opinions of party activists of all parties. They have correctly predicted the outcome of every leadership election since their foundation.

Of course, it is possible that their hot streak may be about to end. Jeremy Hunt could become Conservative leader, or at the least, Boris Johnson’s victory could be much closer than the 48-point margin that the polls suggest. But up until the point where that actually happens, this poll and its findings should be treated as close to 100 per cent accurate, as YouGov’s polls of party members have been thus far. The Conservative Party ought to act accordingly.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.