Change Research conducted a poll of 1,066 Black voters nationwide, fielded from February 18 – 24, 2023. Key findings are highlighted below.
Favorability of Political Leaders
In the upcoming 2024 election, Black voters remain a significant voting bloc for the Democratic Party, but recent signs indicate a growing apathy toward the party among younger Black voters.
Older Black voters are more supportive of President Biden than younger voters. Both Biden and Vice President Harris also have lower favorability among younger Black voters, while other Democrats such as Barack Obama, Raphael Warnock, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez receive more positive ratings. Only 24% of Black voters aged 18-34 believe that Biden should run for a second term, while 58% indicate that they do not.
Among those under 35, Obama is 77% favorable, 13% unfavorable – 59 net percentage points better than President Biden. Other officials popular with young Black voters include Warnock, Hakeem Jeffries, Stacey Abrams, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Despite younger Black voters’ apathy towards the Democratic Party, they continue to view Republican candidates negatively, with Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Tim Scott all receiving low favorable, and high unfavorable, ratings.
The Democratic Party needs to do more if they want to continue to keep younger Black voters engaged and supportive of the Democratic Party: 85% of Black voters under 35 say Democrats leave their communities behind once they’re elected, higher than among any older group. Only 55% of Black voters under 35 say that Democrats are making progress on issues affecting Black people.
In a hypothetical question regarding the Democratic primary in 2024, if Biden chose not to run, VP Harris leads only slightly among Black voters in the primary, with Stacey Abrams and Cory Booker also receiving significant support – Harris has 30%, Stacey Abrams 19%, and Cory Booker 12%. Harris has weaker support and Abrams has the strongest support among young Black voters. Additionally, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez receives a considerable amount of support from voters under 35, were she to run.
Racism in America
Black voters of all ages see racism as the most important issue facing the Black community. Half of respondents ranked racism in their top 3 issues facing the Black community broadly – higher than all other issues including the economy (36%), police brutality (34%), housing costs (32%), and gun violence (32%).
Two-thirds of Black voters believe race relations have worsened over the past 5 years, while only 12% believe they’ve improved. Older Black voters are especially likely to say race relations are deteriorating, with 81% of those 65 or older saying they’ve gotten worse.
Additionally, more than three-fourths of voters (78%) believe that attempts to pass voting restrictions are mostly intended to make it harder for Black people and other people of color to vote rather than to preserve election integrity (22%).
When it comes to policing, Black voters are slightly more likely to say that police make situations less safe (47%) than more safe (42%).
This is partly a result of direct experience: 59% of all respondents say that either they or an immediate family member have been harassed by police.
Black men under 50 in particular report high levels of personal experience with police harassment as 70% say that they or an immediate family member have been harassed by the police. Over three-fourths (77%) of Black voters report having had a serious talk on how to avoid being the victim of police violence, either with their parent(s) as children or with their child(ren) or both.
Education: Protecting Black History
Black voters show marked levels of opposition to recent moves to restrict teachings of African-American history.
Governor Ron DeSantis’s recent move to block the teaching of an AP African American Studies course draws wide disapproval as 78% of Black voters disagree with the decision. Nearly everyone (90%) agrees that an honest education includes teaching about how the legacy of racism continues to affect people today. Similarly, 89% agree that the conversation surrounding teaching racism in schools often ignores the perspective of Black parents.
Rent and housing costs account for the fourth most identified issue facing the Black community and it is the second most important issue among Black voters aged 18 to 34. 39% of Black voters under 35 identify housing costs as a top 3 issue facing their community, making it the 2nd most selected issue.
When asked who is to blame for the rise in rents nationwide, nearly half (49%) attribute the blame to politicians who let developers and landlords build and charge as they please. Only 21% of voters directly blame either landlords or developers, while 12% fault politicians who do not allow more housing.