Can interest in Barack Obama be translated into electoral progress?
The election of Barack Obama has made black Britons more interested in politics and optimistic about the scope for change, research suggests.
A poll for the Hansard Society, in December, found 42% of black and ethnic minority respondents were interested in politics, against 27% a year earlier.
Those who felt the political system can bring change rose from 31% to 41%.
But black and ethnic minority Britons are still far less likely to vote compared to the population as a whole.
Importance of visibility
A recent report from Harvard and Manchester Universities concluded it would take several decades for there to be a black prime minister - arguing that the centralisation of the political system was a key barrier to progress.
But political research charity, the Hansard Society, says Barack Obama's successful White House campaign has had a clear positive impact on political attitudes among black and ethnic minority (BME) voters.
For the first time in six years of research, BME respondents were more optimistic about how government works than their white counterparts and feel they have more impact over decision-making, both at national and local levels.
"There may well be an Obama effect at play, suggesting that representation and visibility do matter in politics," said Fiona Booth, the Society's chief executive.
The research was carried out in the period between Barack Obama's election and his inauguration.
But the findings suggest black and ethnic minority Britons are still significantly less likely to vote than the rest of the population.
Among BMEs asked, 35% said they were "absolutely certain" they would vote in the next election, against 53% of all those polled.
"The challenge for everyone involved is how to harness this opportunity to better engage BME people in mainstream politics," the Hansard Society said.
Parliament is looking at ways of boosting representation of female and minority MPs from current low levels.
Just 3% of MPs are black or Asian compared with 10% of the UK population.