Potential Hurdles Ahead, but Biden Still Holds Strong Support Among Black Voters

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Despite endorsements and praise for former President Donald Trump from high-profile African American figures like Stephen A. Smith, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube, President Joe Biden continues to enjoy strong support within the Black community. A new Pew Research Center study, “An Early Look at Black Voters’ Views on Biden, Trump, and Election 2024,” highlighted this trend, showing that a majority of Black voters believe Biden possesses the qualities needed for another term.

The study revealed that 77% of Black registered voters prefer Biden over Trump. However, researchers noted, “Biden’s advantage among this group is not as wide as it was four years ago,” an indication of a slight erosion of support. The study also revealed that 83% of Black registered voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, down from 88% in 2020. The shift is evident across gender and age demographics, with younger Black voters showing a higher tendency to lean Republican compared to their older counterparts.

Trump’s ratings among Black voters remain overwhelmingly negative. The study found that 72% of Black voters rated his presidency as poor or terrible, and 65% believe the twice-impeached and four-times indicted Trump broke the law in his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Despite this, 49% of Black voters express a desire to replace both Biden and Trump with different candidates if given the option.

The priorities of Black voters diverge somewhat from those of the general electorate. While the economy is a top concern for 73% of Americans, Black Americans place equal importance on improving the education system (79%) and ensuring the financial stability of Social Security (74%). Other key issues include reducing healthcare costs (72%), addressing poverty (70%), reducing crime (68%), and tackling racial issues (65%).

Biden’s job performance approval among Black Americans has seen some improvement. As of April 2024, 55% approve of his handling of the presidency, up from the near-even split in January 2024. This approval, however, is still below the 87% recorded early in his term.

Looking ahead to the 2024 election, 55% of Black voters believe the outcome is crucial as Trump’s plans include a dictatorship and a complete erosion of rights for all people of color, according to his biggest supporters’ “Project 2025” plan. Currently, 77% lean towards voting for Biden, while Trump garners support from 18% of Black voters, with younger Black voters more likely to support Trump compared to their older counterparts.

Confidence in Biden’s capabilities remains relatively high among Black voters, with 56% believing he respects democratic values and 50% confident in his ethical conduct. Only a small fraction extends these beliefs to Trump, with no more than 8% attributing similar qualities to him.

However, the Biden campaign could face significant challenges if it fails to engage adequately with the Black Press of America. The Black Press, celebrating its 197th anniversary in Baltimore next month, continues to play a crucial role in reaching Black voters. Reflecting on a similar situation in 1992, President Bill Clinton faced backlash for reneging on a promise to address the Black Press at their annual convention. Ironically, that convention was held in Baltimore, the same city that’s hosting the 2024 conference.

“Clinton later made up for it by inviting the Black Press to the White House for a discussion, a move that helped him secure the presidency,” stated Philadelphia Tribune Publisher Robert Bogle, who famously led a press conference during that 1992 convention to denounce Clinton’s absence. Bogle and Houston Defender CEO Sonny Messiah Jiles, who also help lead the 1992 presser, told the Black Press’ Let It Be Known morning news show that, if Biden neglects to address the Black Press or invest in significant advertising, his campaign risks alienating a critical voter base.

Overall, Biden still maintains a substantial lead among Black voters, but Jiles and Bogle said his campaign must navigate carefully to maintain and strengthen this support. “Addressing the Black Press and focusing on the community’s unique priorities will be essential steps in securing their votes in the upcoming election,” Bogle asserted.

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