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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Democrats Losing Black Voters In 2010: Dems Reject Black Agenda

Democrats Underperformed For Black Voters: Decision 2010

One of the things giving Democratic candidates across the country trouble this year that has perhaps not gotten as much attention as it should is that they are really under polling with black voters. It's a given that black turnout is going to be way down from its 2008 levels this year but more troublesome for Democratic candidates is that they are running well behind Barack Obama's approval numbers with African Americans in almost every key race we've polled over the last six weeks.

There's a couple ways to look at that. One is that polling frequently underestimates Democratic performance with black voters further out from an election and that 90% of them will vote Democratic as they usually do. If that's the case polls right now are underestimating the party's candidates across the board and Democrats won't do as poorly in November as the current conventional wisdom. The other way to look at it is that black voters, like other voters, are less enthused with the Democrats than they are in the average election cycle and will indeed support them at a lower rate than usual.

If I had to guess I'd say Democratic candidates will end up doing a lot better with black voters than they are currently, but that the level of support they receive will not quite be at its usual lofty levels. Democratic support from African Americans may more often this year end up in the 80% plus or minus 5 points range instead of the 90% plus or minus 5 points range.

Here's the data comparing Obama's approval with blacks to the support level of Democratic Senate and Gubernatorial candidates with them in states where the black population is at least 10%:


Obama Approval w/Blacks
Democrat w/Blacks (Dropoff)

Illinois Governor
Pat Quinn 41% (47)

Florida Senate
Kendrick Meek 48% (31)

Texas Governor
Bill White 62% (28)

Pennsylvania Governor
Dan Onorato 56% (24)

North Carolina Senate
Elaine Marshall 67% (20)

Florida Governor
Alex Sink 60% (19)

Illinois Senate
Alexi Giannoulias 69% (19)

Delaware Senate
Chris Coons 63% (19)

Michigan Governor
Virg Bernero 57% (17)

Pennsylvania Senate
Joe Sestak 64% (16)

Ohio Senate
Lee Fisher 68% (16)

Missouri Senate
Robin Carnahan 67% (11)

Ohio Governor
Ted Strickland 79% (5)

On average the Democratic nominees are running 21 points behind Obama's approval with black voters. Closing that gap is going to be key to winning these races or in some cases even making them competitive.

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Sources: Public Policy Polling, Wikipedia, John Locke Foundation, Youtube, Google Maps

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