With voter fraud and voter suppression the talk of the midterms, the Advancement Project at the NAACP national office joined with the African American Research Collaborative to provide the first comprehensive analysis of how Black voters voted this cycle and why.
Released in November, the poll of midterm voters, conducted by the African American Research Collaborative – in collaboration with Latino Decisions and Asian American Decisions – examined African-American voters across various competitive elections to determine how this electorate engaged in 2018 and how those findings might shape the future of elections.
The key takeaway of this poll is clear – Democrats’ 2018 wins across the country were dependent on voters of color, particularly Black voters, as a majority of white voters supported Republicans.
A whopping 90 percent of Black voters supported Democratic House candidates, compared to just 53 percent of all voters; 45 percent of white voters; 73 percent of Latinos; and 72 percent of Asian voters
The midterms were a referendum on President Trump, NAACP officials said in a news release. Black voters see the President and the current GOP as divisive, racist, and a step back for the nation.
Approximately 72 percent of Black voters believe the Democrats are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; but 21 percent feel the Democrats don’t care too much about Blacks. Only 12 percent of Black voters believe the Republicans are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; and 55 percent feel the GOP doesn’t care too much about Blacks.
Eighty-five percent of Black women and 81 percent of Black men have felt disrespected by Donald Trump. Only 8 percent of Black voters believe Trump has a positive impact on Blacks, and 29 percent believe he has a negative impact. Eighty-nine percent of Black women, 83 percent of Black men, and 50 percent of white voters believe Trump’s statements and policies will cause a major setback for racial progress. A total of 91 percent of Black women, 86 percent of Black men, and 50 percent of white voters believe Trump and the GOP are using toxic rhetoric to divide the nation.
The NAACP poll revealed that 82 percent of Black women, 76 percent of Black men and 45 percent of white voters believe Trump and the Republicans are normalizing sexism and sexual harassment against women.
According to the NAACP, to have similar or greater wins in 2020, Democrats must invest in and engage communities of color and the issues that matter most to these constituents. Only 57 percent of Black voters were contacted from a campaign, political party, or community organization about voting in the months prior to Election Day.
“There is one thing unequivocally clear about the data from this recent poll – if America is to become a democracy reflective of its ideals of liberty, opportunity and justice for all – it cannot do so without embracing, engaging and valuing the Black voter and voters of color, particularly Black women,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “This poll confirms that Black voters and the issues which motivate them can only be ignored at your own peril.”
Henry Fernandez, principal, African American Research Collaborative, said, African-American voters “are the backbone of the progressive vote in America and were essential to the blue wave that transformed American politics. In particular, Black women are a powerful political force with high turnout and unified vote choice that consistently and overwhelmingly supports progressive change. Black voters and other voters of color have reacted strongly against Trump but also against the Republican party as it embraces Trumpism. This was demonstrated in the 2018 midterms, as a majority of white voters supported Republican candidates, but Democrats won across the country as voters of color turned out in record numbers.”
Further, the past midterm election cycle has shown the power of communities of color in particular, and their desire to engage when people think they are apathetic, said Judith Browne Dianis, the executive director of the Advancement Project at the NAACP’s national office.
“People of color turned out and were engaged. Voters of color are poised to seize our power and Advancement Project’s national office and our allies are readying for the next big thing – 2020 – to make sure our vote is protected; to ensure our elections are free, fair and accessible. This polling suggests that people want action, change as it relates to racial profiling, immigrant justice and, really, respect,” Dianis said. “We are making sure this happens by working with partners on the ground and using this research to inform our collective strategies and work toward a more diverse and just democracy.”
Also, the 2018 American Election Eve Poll provided further evidence that America is anything but post-racial, said Ray Block, Jr., a professor of University of Kentucky’s African American Research Collaborative.
“Identity-group considerations continue to shape the political landscape and guide the thoughts and actions of voters,” Block said. “The outcomes of the 2018 midterms confirm that African-Americans turned out in strong numbers to support candidates who backed progressive issues, and candidates who seek (re)election in 2020 should remember the lessons learned from this past election.”
Also, what the latest poll and previous research underscores is that, in order to reach Black voters, “we must be explicit about our issues and specific in communicating directly with Black voters,” said Jamal Watkins, the NAACP vice president of Civic Engagement. “The NAACP recognized that in order to reach the infrequent Black voter, we must be specific in our language, issues and our relational organizing strategies,” Watkins said. “No longer can the Black vote be ignored or disrespected or taken for granted.”