Brexit voters are more likely to admit to holding racist views than Remain voters, new research shows.
More than a third - 34 percent - who voted Leave said they were “very” or “a little” racially prejudiced while just 18 percent of Remain voters said the same, according to a report by equality think tank Runnymede Trust and the National Centre for Social Research.
The centre’s survey has asked the same question annually since 1983, but the number professing racial prejudice has never fallen below a quarter.
The Runnymede Trust said it was “deeply concerning” that 26 percent of Britons still identified as racist.
“This is despite the trend towards socially liberal attitudes on other subjects and the widespread view that overt racism has declined,” Runnymede Trust director Dr Omar Khan said.
Gender and political party were also important factors: 29 percent of men admitted to racist views, compared with 23 percent of women.
A third of Conservative supporters said the same, compared to 18 percent of Labour supporters.
Nancy Kelley, deputy chief executive at The National Centre for Social Research, said the research bucked the trend of growing tolerance in the British Social Attitudes Survey.
“These numbers provide clear evidence that a significant minority of people in Britain feel prejudiced towards people of other races,” she said.
“Prejudice on this scale is something we as a society should be concerned about, not least as there is a significant body of evidence that even subtle racial prejudices contribute to racial inequality in areas such as education, employment and in the criminal justice system.”
The number of people saying they held racist views in the NatCen survey peaked at 39 percent in 1987 and hit 37 percent in 2011.
Dr Khan said he was concerned that the 2014 European Social Attitudes Survey showed 44 percent of Britons agreed some ethnic groups were “born less hard-working” and 18 percent thought some were “born less intelligent”.
He added: “This matters because the picture across society is one of unequal outcomes for BME citizens. People are consciously and unconsciously making decisions that impact negatively on black and Asian communities.
“We have been far too complacent about a rising wave of tolerance leading to a less prejudiced society.
“We need new ways of talking about race to tackle the stereotypes and fears of difference that give rise to unfairness.
“But even more importantly, we need policies that tackle racial inequality and enable greater social interaction between people from different backgrounds.”