There are indications that African Americans are gradually leaving the Democratic Party. Even if this transition is far less abrupt than the massive exodus of Hispanic Americans from the party, it is still taking place. As the midterm elections in November approach, this dynamic warrants serious study.
And as we’ve seen time and time again, even a 1%–2% movement in support may make the difference between winning and losing an election. Republicans presently lead Democrats by 0.9% in the Real Clear Politics average of surveys for the generic congregational vote, which asks participants which party’s candidate they would support if the election were conducted today. Prior to the 2020 election, the final RCP average favored Democrats by 6.8%. Republicans trailed in every poll included in RCP’s generic vote statistics, with the exception of a tie in a survey conducted in October 2019.
Right-leaning pollster Rasmussen reported on Friday that 66% of black respondents said they would vote for a Democrat and 21% for a Republican. According to a poll conducted by Politico/Morning Consult on October 3 that had a considerably more left-leaning conclusion, 74% of black voters asked said they would choose a Democratic candidate, while 14% would select a Republican.
Let’s accept the outcomes that are more liberal for the sake of discussion. Even if just 74% of black voters would choose a Democrat now, Joe Biden received 92% of their votes two years ago. Similar to how 14% of black voters would support a Republican, but only 8% supported Trump in 2020. Due to the fact that Biden is not on the ballot, this does not result in a point-for-point drop. However, it does demonstrate a clear directional movement in voter attitude.
According to a Washington Post/Ipsos survey conducted in May, the majority of black voters still prefer Democrats, but the difference has shrunk. Voters of color were questioned about their perceptions of Biden’s sensitivity to their issues. Even though 66% of respondents replied yes, 74% had said yes two years prior. The poll also revealed that younger black Americans saw the fastest decline in Biden’s job rating. It had fallen to 60% for those in the 18–39 age group and to 74% for those in the 40–64 age group. But a staggering 86% of black voters 65 and older still thought he was doing a good job.
Even while it is a relatively slight loss of support, it does not augur well for Democrats in the next midterm elections. In a tight election, losing even a tiny percentage of black voters might make all the difference, just as they did in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2020.
As I stated last week, Republican candidates must win in Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, all states where they presently lead, barring any October surprises in the more predictable Senate elections. Additionally, they must triumph in one of the following states’ races: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Washington, or New Hampshire. And even a slight decline in black Democrats’ popularity will contribute to that outcome.