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New Poll: Why is Biden’s Approval Declining Among Black Voters? Half of Black Voters’ Households Skipped Paying Bills, One-Third Late Paying Rent

Washington, D.C. | Nov. 18  As more and more Black Americans express their economic struggles in polls, President Biden’s net approval (percent approve minus percent disapprove) among Black voters has dropped. It stood at +76% in the summer and fell to +62% in October. And though it nudged up to +66% in November, it remains 10 points lower than where it stood over the summer.  

In November, more than half of Black voters’ households reported having trouble paying their bills on time. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Black voters said they or someone in their home skipped paying a bill or paid a bill late in the last three months. Fifty-four percent represents a steep 17 percent increase from over the summer. Additionally, one-third (1/3) of Black voter households reported paying their rent or mortgage late, up 12 percent from the summer. This data comes from the latest BlackTrack, a monthly survey tracking the attitudes of Black voters by HIT Strategies. The November BlackTrack was conducted between October 22 and 27. 

The results of the latest BlackTrack underscore the economic hardships many Black voters face and offer insight into Biden’s declining approval numbers among Black voters. Over the summer, President Biden’s high approval among all voters was driven by super-high approval among Black voters. Subsequently, the economic anxiety and frustration of many Black Voters signal the potential causes of Biden’s and Democrats’ sagging approval numbers among Black voters.  

“The relief provided in federal stimulus packages wore off over the summer, and now many more Black Americans are reporting economic distress than did just a few months ago,” said Terrance Woodbury, HIT Strategies founding partner and CEO. “And as that has happened, Biden and Congressional Democrats are losing favor among their most important voting constituency.” 

The November BlackTrack Report covers Black voters’ evolving perceptions of national political figures, including President Biden and Congressional Democrats. November’s Report also contains quarterly tracking questions on Black voters’ sentiments about the present and future of the economy. And since the summer, opinion on both national Democrats and the economy has fallen.  

Economic Stress 

Black voters’ optimism about the economy has dived in recent months. We tracked seven questions between the summer and November that captured Black voters’ feelings of economic strife and their predictions about the economic future. On four of those questions, we found an increased frequency of distress; in two questions about the cost of living, we found consistently high levels of economic concern; and we found consistently low stress in only one tracker, security of housing. 

Increasing Stress, Decreasing Optimism 

Tracker QuestionSummer 2021  November 2021 
Proportion who recently skipped a bill/paid it late or had a household member who did  37%  54%
Proportion who recently couldn’t fully meet rent/mortgage or had a household member who couldn’t  23%  35% 
Proportion who think the economy will get better over next year  47%  34%
Proportion who think personal finances will get better over next year  55%  49% 

Black Voters Remain Concerned About High Prices 

Tracker Question Summer 2021November 2021 
Proportion concerned about a rise in the cost of living in next year  90% 89% 
Proportion concerned about inflation in next year  83%  86%

Falling Approval with President Biden and Congressional Democrats  

As Black voters experience economic pain, their approval of the party in power—Biden and Congressional Democrats—has fallen. 

Though the rate of decline in Biden’s net approval varies among different subsets of Black voters, all groups (men, women, those aged 50+, those under age 50) have a lower net backing of Biden now than they did in the summer—including Black voters over 50, a group that is particularly loyal to the Democratic Party. 

The story is similar for the net approval of Congressional Democrats, but the picture is even starker. Black voters’ net approval dropped from +70 in September to +46 in November—a 24-point drop. The decline was particularly steep for Black women and Black voters under 50, who registered 32-point and 26-point drops, respectively. 

Between the summer and November, Black voters missed more bill payments, grew increasingly pessimistic about the economy overall and their personal finances, and maintained high concern about rising prices. President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ approval ratings among Black voters fell in that same period, and they haven’t yet rebounded.  

Black voters are feeling economic pain. Biden and Congressional Democrats must connect them to the resources they need. 

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