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New Poll: Frustration Among Black Voters Is Likely Cause of Biden’s Sagging Approval Poll Numbers (BLACKtrack)

Washington, D.C. | Nov. 1  President Biden’s net approval rating (percent who approve minus percent who disapprove) has fallen nearly 15 points since mid-July. Pollsters and researchers cited souring among independents and consolidating opposition among Republicans as possible sources for the decline. But absent from this conversation is Biden’s lagging approval among his most loyal demographic: Black voters. Biden’s stature in this key bloc has declined significantly over the past four months. According to BlackTrack, HIT Strategies’ monthly survey of Black voters, Biden’s net job approval declined from +76% in June 2021 to just +62% in October — a 14-point drop.

The October BlackTrack Report highlights the survey’s top tracking questions regarding President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ performance from June to October. The October BlackTrack survey detected increasing malaise and disapproval toward Biden and Democrats in general.  In October, 56% of respondents said they felt that the Democratic Party takes Black voters for granted, a 14% jump from the June BlackTrack survey. Also, 25% of participants disapproved of Congressional Democrats’ job performance, more than double the proportion who said the same in June.

“Since we began tracking President Biden’s approval among Black voters, it’s been pretty clear that his high overall approval number was driven by super-high approval among Black voters,” said Terrance Woodbury, HIT Strategies partner. “However, Black voters are growing more impatient toward Democrats in the absence of seeing action on their priorities.” 

Misaligned Priorities 
Just 81% of Black voters now approve of Biden, a lower proportion than Biden’s 92% share of the Black vote in the 2020 general election. This discrepancy indicates that Black voters who supported Biden in the election have since expressed disapproval of his job performance. One explanation for this finding is a misalignment between Black voters’ priorities and their perceptions of Biden’s policy focus. There is a gap between expectations and reality on three key issues: affordable housing, reducing racism and discrimination, and voting rights.

Issue% Who Say Issue Should Be Top Priority for Biden % Who Say Issue Is Top Priority for Biden 
Affordable housing/cost of living 28%13% 
Reducing racism and discrimination27%15% 
Voting rights16% 9% 

HIT Strategies’ focus groups with Black voters revealed that many Black voters cast their ballot hoping that Biden would provide subsidies for Black renters, enact reforms like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and pass a national voting rights bill. And in these voters’ minds, Democrats have not delivered. 

Where have Biden, Democrats been losing trust? 
Biden’s softening approval also demonstrates the diversity of opinion in the Black community. Some groups of Black voters, such as seniors and HBCU graduates, still give Biden around 90% approval. And some groups of Black voters express significantly more distrust toward Biden and Democrats than Black voters did overall, including young people, infrequent voters, and LGBTQ voters.

Demographic*% Who Disapprove of Biden’s Job% Who Feel Dems Take Black Voters for Granted 
Ages 18-2928% 74%
Infrequent Voters 24% 65% 
LGBTQ28% 62% 
*Ages 18-29, infrequent voters, and LGBT voters are a subset of overall respondents with n’s of 217, 170, and 152 respectively. As such, the margin of error is greater than the overall of +/-3.1% at a 95% confidence interval for 1,000 Black voters.

Democrats have an opportunity to tell their story 
Democrats have made progress on many Black voters’ priorities, but many Black voters don’t know or haven’t connected the dots. “Democrats are actually making progress on things that matter to them, they just don’t know about it,” said Terrance Woodbury. “Stop focusing on what you haven’t yet accomplished and spend more time telling people what you’ve already done for them.”  


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