Joe Biden continues to hold a wide lead in the Democratic primary among African-Americans, according to a new poll that also shows black voters believe the former vice president would do the best job on most of the issues important to them.
In the crowded Democratic field, Biden has 44 percent support — 29 percentage points higher than Sen, Bernie Sanders, who comes in second among African-American likely primary voters, according to the survey for the BlackPAC political action committee.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was third at 11 percent and Sen. Cory Booker followed with 5 percent. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang all tied at 3 percent while former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and California billionaire Tom Steyer were tied at 2 percent.
Biden rated as the most likely candidate to be ranked as the second choice for voters who support or have supported Sanders, Sen. Elizbeth Warren or Sen. Kamala Harris, who recently left the race.
“Voters are looking for a few things: someone who understands their issues and will act on them, someone they know and can trust and they’re looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump. Biden for black voters ticks off those three metrics,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of the left-leaning political committee dedicated to mobilizing and engaging black voters.
The BlackPAC survey, conducted by the firm Normington Petts, polled 800 African-Americans nationwide from Nov. 21-27 and has an error margin of 3.5 percentage points.The survey results arrive at a crucial time in the Democratic primary, which began with a historically diverse field of candidates.
With Harris’s withdrawal from the race and the failures of Booker and Patrick to qualify for Thursday’s PBS NewsHour/POLITICO debate, no African-American candidate will be on stage — even though black voters are a pillar of the party and are central to winning the first in the South primary in South Carolina on Feb. 29.
African-Americans also comprise a disproportionate share of the Democratic electorate in the Super Tuesday states March 3. Biden has consistently enjoyed outsized support among black voters and is counting on them to help him win the nomination. Though Biden is one of the most moderate candidates in the Democratic primary, BlackPAC’s poll indicates the African-American electorate favors progressive policies like free tuition at public colleges (76 percent), slapping a new tax on the extremely wealthy (73 percent), reparations for descendants of slaves (71 percent), Medicare for All (65 percent), and the Green New Deal (57 percent). The poll also shows black voters think Biden would do the best job on nearly every issue important to them, from gun control to healthcare to housing. The only issue he’s not the most trusted to handle best: abortion rights. Regardless of the nominee, black voters overall plan to vote overwhelmingly against President Trump, with 6 percent supporting his reelection and 86 percent saying they would vote for a generic Democrat. And 77 percent want the president impeached and removed from office — far higher than the overall public. Trump’s favorability rating is somewhat better than his reelection numbers among black voters, with 13 percent viewing him positively and 78 percent negatively. Also, 84 percent give him a negative job-approval rating while 15 percent rate him positively. “Trump is historically unpopular with black voters. They want him out of office. And they don’t care how he goes,” Shropshire said. “There’s two ways he could go: The impeachment and removal process or the election.” Beyond the primary, black voters are also crucial to the success of any Democratic nominee in a general election in swing states like Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan – all of which Trump barely won in 2016 when black turnout or support rates for the Democratic nominee were slightly lower than four years earlier. Shropshire said that animus toward Trump, who is campaigning hard to boost his black voter support, won’t be enough for Democrats in 2020.
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