As if the Democratic Party didn’t already have enough problems to worry about, yesterday CNN published an analysis piece saying that their support from Black voters appears to be slipping. We’ve seen lots of news recently reacting to polls that show Democrats losing support from both Hispanic voters and from young voters. But a similar gap appears to be opening up with Black voters which hasn’t received as much attention for whatever reason.
For instance, a recent Gallup poll found “Biden’s approval rating among Black adults stood at a mere 67%.” The story notes that’s down 20% from the 87% support Biden had at the start of his term. Of course any one poll, even one from Gallup, can be brushed off as an outlier. But the CNN piece points out the same trend has appeared in several recent polls:
Our most recent CNN/SSRS poll on the subject found Biden’s approval with Black adults was 69%. It stood at 74% with Black voters. A recent Quinnipiac University poll put Biden’s approval rating with Black adults at 64%. A Pew Research Center poll last month had him at 72% among Black voters…
An examination of the generic congressional ballot indicates…that Black voters, at this point, seem far less likely to vote Democratic than you might expect given their voting history.
Take a look at an average of polls — from CNN, Fox, Quinnipiac and Pew — over the last few months. Democrats have a 62-point lead among Black voters, 73% to 11%. That may seem large, but it’s small from a historical standpoint.
The 2020 network exit polls had Democrats winning the national House vote among Black voters by 75 points (87% to 12%). The data firm Catalist calculated that Democrats won by 79 points (89% to 10%). Averaged together, Black voters went Democratic by a 77-point margin in the 2020 House vote.
What current polls indicate is a 15-point decline from that margin among Black voters.
The piece wraps up by noting that in the past even conservative Black voters have tended to vote for Democrats but after 2020 there’s some indication that could be changing. Hillary won self-described conservative Black voters by 58 points in 2016. But in 2020 Biden won them by 20 points. If that pattern continues the majority of Black voters will still side with Democrats but the margin may shift enough that Democratic advantages in some close races could evaporate.
However, just because support for Democrats is waning doesn’t necessarily mean support for Republicans is growing. Black voters may not be enthusiastic about Joe Biden but they could just decide to stay home rather that vote GOP. In order to capitalize on this moment, Republicans would need to do some outreach to those more conservative black voters. The party is already making a concerted effort to reach conservative-leaning Hispanic voters. Hopefully the same effort can be made to extend a welcome to Black voters, many of whom may be tired of being ignored by the Democratic Party.
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