A recent poll conducted by BlackPAC of registered Black voters across the country shows the priorities of a constituency that Democratic presidential candidates are eagerly courting.
BlackPAC’s findings outline a path forward for candidates to increase their name recognition and favorability ratings in this critical voting bloc.
“Black voters, who remain highly motivated to push our country back on track, named racism and discrimination as one of their top issue concerns. In order to win the Democratic presidential nomination, candidates must demonstrate to Black voters—through policy solutions and moral conviction—an unyielding commitment to halting the rise of bigotry and curbing widening racial disparities in our economic, healthcare, and education systems,” said BlackPAC Executive Director Adrianne Shropshire. “Name identification, which is driving support for candidates at this point, will be insufficient for decisively winning the Black electorate –and subsequently, securing the nomination. Candidates must use this critical window to define their campaigns around these concerns.”
Additionally, more work must be done regarding the other critical event of 2020: the Census count. Findings show that the progressive infrastructure must urgently inform and persuade Black voters about the Census and its importance as a strategic priority for winning future elections.
One of the top issues for Black voters, who responded with concern and alarm about the direction of the country under Donald Trump, is racism and discrimination.
Issues like healthcare, jobs and the economy, education, police accountability and the environment and climate rank high in importance, but racism is the issue most deeply concerning to Black voters.
- 50% of respondents identify racism and discrimination as the top issue in the upcoming election for President.
- Racism and discrimination are a particular concern for voters ages 18-24 and 65+ (both 55%).
- 91% of respondents definitely planning to vote have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
- 93% of respondents definitely planning to vote say the country is on the wrong track.
- 90% of respondents definitely planning to vote say that economic conditions have not changed or have gotten worse. This sentiment rings most true for respondents in the South (92%); in “red” states (93%); with some college education (91%); who are unemployed (91%); who identify as women (94%); who are unemployed (91%); and who are disabled (96%).
- 43% of respondents identify healthcare as a critical issue, particularly among Black women over 50 (53%) and voters in the South over 50 (57%).
- Jobs and economy (29%), education (24%), police accountability (24%), and the environment and climate (20%) rounded out the first-tier issues. Critical second-tier issues included criminal justice reform (16%), common-sense gun reform (14%), voting rights (13%), and women’s reproductive rights (13%).
Name recognition is currently driving favorable opinions for Democratic presidential candidates.
Every candidate has an opportunity to increase their competitiveness with Black voters by clearly defining their candidacies around these priority issues.
- Among respondents, Biden and Sanders have the highest name ID (both 97%), favorables (72% and 65%), and the highest levels of support for their candidacies (45% and 15%).
- Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker round out the top five. Each of their favorables increase by more than 10 points among respondents who are following the news closely. Warren: 56% to 67%, Harris: 49% to 60%, Booker: 47% to 58%.
- Party identification continues to be a long-term challenge for Democrats with both Gen Z and Millennial voters: Of Gen Z (ages 18-24) respondents, only 33% identify as a strong Democrat, with 22% identifying as weak Democrats, and 20% identifying as independents who lean Democrat. Of millennial (ages 25-39) respondents, the numbers are similar. 41% identify as strong Democrats, while 13% identify weak Democrats and 24% as independents who lean Democrat.
- Only 3% of respondents said that the best reason to vote in 2020 is a candidate that they believe in.
Black voters on high alert, and are paying close attention to political developments.
The vast majority plan to engage during the 2020 cycle.
- 84% of respondents say that they are paying close attention to what is happening in politics and with the pending election.
- 92% of respondents identify as likely planning to vote in 2020.
- The mostly likely voters are those between the age of 40-55 (94%) and 56-64 (95%).
More education efforts around the 2020 census count are required, especially among Black immigrant communities and young voters.
The census requires just as much attention as the 2020 election, especially as the potential for a historic undercount grows, factoring in the likelihood of a citizenship question, the scale of hard-to-count Black populations, and concerns over adequate funding to ensure a complete count.
- 77% of respondents definitely planning to vote were able to correctly identify that the next census would be conducted in 2020.
- 90% of respondents definitely planning to vote stated that they will fill out a census form. Only 82% of Black immigrant voters stated that they are likely to fill out a census form. Only 78% of voters ages 18-24 say they will fill out a form.
- 77% of respondents definitely planning to vote claimed to have participated in a past census.
Findings are from an online survey conducted for BlackPAC by Normington, Petts & Associates of 613 Black/African-American registered voters nationwide. The survey was conducted between April 25-April 29, 2019, and recruited online via advertisements on social media. The margin of error is ±3.9 percentage points, and varies by subgroups. Data was weighted by sex, age, education, 4-way census region and likelihood to vote in the November 2020 general election.