Ethnic Minority British Election Study 2009-2010 now online

The British Election Study (BES) constitutes the longest academic series of nationally representative probability sample surveys in Britain. In 1997, Anthony Heath and Shamit Saggar led an investigation into ethnic minority electoral behaviour and attitudes via a booster sample of 705 respondents. A survey of ethnic minorities in 2010 was also run, and this week was made available online at

Anthony Heath, Professor of Sociology at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester, led the project alongside Steve Fisher (Oxford) and David Sanders (Essex). He says: “in some respects EMBES is the most comprehensive study of ethnic minorities in Britain since PSI’s Fourth National Survey in 1994”.

EMBES is primarily concerned with political party preference, vote choice in 2010, attitudes towards the main party leaders and so forth – but also includes questions on topics such as language fluency, perceptions of discrimination in different fields, cultural orientations, social relationships and social capital.

Some of the questions are replicated from those in the 1997 ethnic minority survey, others from the post-election main BES survey, and others still from the Canadian Ethnic Diversity Survey – allowing different comparisons to be made.

The EMBES comprises reasonably-large sample sizes covering important ethnic minority groups in Britain. 1 respondent refused to report their ethnicity; otherwise:
Mixed white and Black Caribbean – 70 respondents
Mixed white and Black African – 23
Mixed white and Asian – 5
Other mixed – 9
Asian or British Indian – 587
Asian or British Pakistani – 668
Asian or British Bangladeshi – 270
Other Asian/British – 16
Black or Black British Caribbean – 597
Black or Black British African – 524
Other Black British background – 6
Other ethnic group – 11
Total: 2787

A small number of religious items were included in the questionnaire:
Do you regard yourself as belonging to any particular religion?

If yes, which one? (Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Other)

Which Christian denomination or tradition do you belong to? (Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Other [write in], None in particular)

If Muslim, which Muslim tradition do you belong to? (Sunni [Hanafi; Deobandi; Barelvi], Shi’a (Twelvers; Severners; Ismailis; Boras), Sufism, Kharijites: Ibadism, Ahmadis, None of these, Other [write in])

How important is your religion to you?

In the past 12 months, how often did you participate in religious activities or attend religious services or meetings with other people, other than for events such as weddings and funerals?

In the past 12 months, how often did you do religious activities on your own? This may include prayer, meditation and other forms of worship taking place at home or in any other location.

The questionnaire is available here:

And the datasets are available in SPSS and Stata format here :

The documentation for the survey, however, is not available yet, so I will check how to weight the sample before reporting any further data. For additional information on EMBES, contact David Sanders at the University of Essex.

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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