For decades, Democratic candidates have relied on the Black vote to achieve electoral success, and with that in mind, the campaign of the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden just received some disconcerting news.
Breitbart reports that a recent poll showed Biden only drawing about 77% of the Black vote, quite a bit short of the level of support garnered by the two most recent Democratic nominees, failed candidate Hillary Clinton (88%) in 2016 and former President Barack Obama (93%) in 2012.
Considering that even a 5-point drop-off between 2012 and 2016 has been cited as one of the reasons contributing to Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, the additional decline of another 11 percentage points on top of that doesn’t bode well for Biden, as Breitbart noted.
A “sign of concern”
The revelation of Biden’s apparent underperformance with Black voters came from a recent poll of 1,000 likely voters by John Zogby Strategies and EMI Research Solutions, which found that while Biden drew 77% support from Black voters, Trump garnered 14% support, with 9% undecided.
Pollster John Zogby, for his part, pointed to that diminished Black support for Biden’s candidacy as a “possible sign of concern” for his campaign and suggested that a specific action be taken quickly to rectify the situation. “The whole world is watching and this certainly argues for the selection of an African American woman. These numbers among [B]lacks are dismal,” Zogby said in his analysis of the survey.
According to the Washington Examiner, unnamed Republican officials suggested that President Trump stands a great chance of winning re-election if he can maintain or improve upon that level of support in November. Incredibly, the Examiner noted that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the lone Black Republican in the Senate, predicted in February that it was “game over if we get 14 [percent of the Black vote].”
In a statement to the Examiner, Zogby reiterated his prescription of a Black female running mate to improve Biden’s minority support, saying:
Blacks are not where they should be. Young and Hispanics look good, as do women. I think he has slack for a month, but this may be the most important VP choice since 1960. I hear a lot about [Illinois Sen.] Tammy Duckworth, but if his pollsters are showing what ours are, the choice will have to be a [B]lack woman.
The Zogby poll is not some sort of one-off or outlier result, as other recent surveys have shown similar outcomes in terms of the Black vote. The Examiner noted that Rasmussen, which has consistently shown a higher level of Black support for Trump than other polls, most recently determined that the president’s re-election bid had the support of 21% of Black voters.
Likewise, The Washington Post in late May published a piece that wondered whether Biden had a “problem” with Black voters while noting a distinctly diminished enthusiasm among that key demographic group with regard to his candidacy. Citing data compiled from large surveys over the course of nearly a year, the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape project reached the same conclusion noted by Breitbart, that Biden was underperforming substantially with Black voters in comparison to Clinton and Obama.
Overall, it pegged Biden’s support among Black voters at 79% compared to 11% in support of Trump and another 11% who remained undecided. What really caused concern, however, was that those numbers for Biden fell off dramatically among younger Black voters (68%) as compared to older Black voters (91%).
In a breakdown by age brackets, it was discovered that only 57% of Black voters age 18-29 had a favorable opinion of Biden compared to 21% for Trump. Among Black voters age 30-44, Biden was viewed favorably by 74%, while Trump garnered 29% favorability.
All of this is nothing short of devastating news for Biden, and it strongly suggests that he and the Democrats may not be able to rely on the historically monolithic vote from the Black community to carry them to victory in November. How his campaign responds to this news, however, is anyone’s guess.