One of the more closely watched poll numbers by both parties is the support of black Americans for Democrats. They are a critical vote in several swing states and without their vote — and in massive numbers — a national Democratic candidate doesn’t stand a chance.
Barack Obama was able to gain 95 percent support among blacks with historic levels of turnout. But six million Obama voters failed to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that cost her the election.
Donald Trump sees opportunity where most Republican candidates have seen obstacles. His campaign has spent millions of dollars in outreach to black voters since 2017 and the effort appears to be paying off.
President Trump earned a 19% job approval rating from black voters in the latest Fox News poll as the Trump reelection campaign works to double the 8% support he received from this cohort four years ago.
The Democratic candidate has generally received between 92 and 95 percent of the black vote since the 1970s. Anything less than that and the Democratic candidate could be in trouble. Needless to say, if Trump can win 15-20 percent of the black vote, he wins in a landslide.
Trump’s team is spending tens of millions of dollars to woo black voters in the November election, deploying a massive field and data program to target a voting bloc that for decades has overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party. Until all campaigns were forced online by the coronavirus pandemic, that investment included opening special campaign field offices in urban neighborhoods in key battleground states designed to cater to black voters.
In the Fox News survey, which was conducted April 4-7, 13% of registered black voters said they “somewhat approve” of Trump’s job performance, with 6% saying they “strongly approve.”
It isn’t just the percentage of the black vote that concerns Democrats. As the 2016 election showed, a lack of enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate could bring down the curtain on his campaign.
There is no groundswell of enthusiasm for Joe Biden among any Democratic constituency, including black Americans, despite Biden leaning on the black vote to win the nomination. And if many states use a mail-in ballot in November, that will almost certainly drive the turnout numbers down. Getting people to ask for an absentee ballot, having them fill it out, and then mail it in is a laborious process not conducive to a massive turnout.
The kind of turnout Joe Biden desperately needs in the black community to prevail.