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Leading Up to the 2024 Election, Black Voters Remain Supportive of Biden and Democrats

Jessica Johnson on

In May, the Pew Research Center published results from January and April surveys on African American voters' opinions on the upcoming November election and domestic and foreign policy, along with their thoughts regarding President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The January sample size consisted of 759 Black adults out of 5,140 respondents. There were two April surveys, one with 611 Black respondents for the beginning of the month and 1,372 Black participants during the middle of the month. The first April survey had a total of 3,600 adults, while the second one was much larger with 8,709.

The data from this research was compared to results from Pew telephone surveys conducted from 1994 to 2018 and online surveys administered from 2019 to 2023. Regarding party alliance, hardly anything has changed throughout these years as 83% of Black voters said they identified with or leaned toward Democrats. Seventy-seven percent of registered Black voters pledged their support to Biden, compared to 18% for Trump. Senior Pew researcher Kiana Cox pointed out an interesting finding that showed that 29% of Black voters under 50 favor Trump, which indicates that he has been making small inroads with younger African Americans. However, 49% of Black voters in the second April survey stated that they would prefer replacing both Biden and Trump as candidates.

In thinking about the reactions to the CNN June 27 presidential debate between Biden and Trump, many would argue this percentage would more than likely increase in a follow-up study considering Biden's poor performance. Recently released polls do not suggest this is the case, as Black voters continue to remain extremely loyal to Biden, which would include some who wish another nominee was on the Democratic ticket.

With calls mounting for Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, a July 3 CBS News/YouGov survey revealed that 58% of Black voters still want him to run for reelection. This poll only had a sample size of 2,826 registered voters, but I think it signifies the overall allegiance more so to the Democrats that many Blacks still have. Much of this has to do with how the Black vote historically shifted to the Democrats starting in 1932 with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Seventy-one percent of Black voters backed him. Democratic support from Blacks continued with President Harry Truman in 1948, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s pretty much sealed the deal. Blacks were drawn to vote for John F. Kennedy after he and his brother Bobby helped get Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. released from a Decatur city chain gang in Georgia. President Lyndon B. Johnson, pushing through major civil rights legislation, ushered in more than 90% of Blacks standing firmly with his party. These deeply entrenched partisan ties have been incredibly difficult for Republicans to disband in their attempts to win over the African American voting bloc in recent elections.

Going back to the Pew survey findings, African American voters listed "improving education" and "strengthening [the] economy" as their top two domestic policy priorities. Education was addressed during the debate as Biden and Trump briefly discussed their records on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Neither one mentioned detailed specifics, but under Trump's administration HBCU students benefitted from the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants, and Biden has put pressure on governors of 16 states with land-grant HBCUs to tackle funding inequities.

Education has always been highly valued in the African American community, and many HBCUs were founded by churches and missionary organizations because the objective was not just to develop an engaged citizenry of critical thinkers and skilled individuals but to also nurture their souls as civic servants. Students were encouraged, as 1 Peter 4:10 instructs, to use their gifts to minister to others as "good stewards of the manifold grace of God." HBCUs with a Christian foundation are continuing this mission today and include Bethune-Cookman University, Paine College, Paul Quinn College, and Philander Smith University. Bethune-Cookman's founder, Mary McLeod Bethune, famously said in her last will and testament that "I leave you faith. Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible."

 

A great question regarding improving conditions for African Americans in a future debate between Biden and Trump would be to ask them what they think about the intersection of education, faith and community service, and more specifically, how would they describe themselves as public servants.

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Dr. Jessica A. Johnson is a lecturer in the English department at Ohio State University's Lima campus. Email her at smojc.jj@gmail.com. Follow her on X: @JjSmojc. To find out more about Jessica Johnson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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