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Strong Black Turnout Could Determine Outcomes of Key Races

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Special to the NNPA from the Joint Center of Political and Economic Studies –

Less than three weeks before Election Day, a new analysis shows that African American voters are strategically located in states and districts where, if they turn out in substantial numbers, they could make a difference in who controls the House, the Senate, and up to 14 governorships.

The report, In Anticipation of November 2: Black Voters and Candidates and the 2010 Midterm Elections, was released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a leading authority on the black electorate that has consistently surveyed and reported on the opinions of African Americans since 1970.

The analysis was conducted by David A. Bositis, Ph.D., Senior Political Analyst at the Joint Center, and discussed with a standing room only roundtable of journalists and other political organizations in Washington, D.C. Dr. Bositis said this election could echo mid-term elections in 1986, when significant Black turnout helped Democrats gain House seats and take control of the Senate, and again in 1998, when Democrats picked up governorships in Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. “There are 20 House seats and 14 Senate seats in addition to 14 gubernatorial races where the Black vote has the potential to determine the outcome of this year’s elections,” Dr. Bositis said.

Widespread predictions that Democrats will endure sweeping losses may be premature, if party leaders are abel to play a strong ground game that includes persuading African Americans to go to the polls in greater numbers than they have in some other mid-term elections, added Dr. Bositis. “The extent of the Democrats' losses will depend on their ability to turn out their most loyal voters, and no voting bloc will be more important to them than African Americans. If they can mobilize a strong Black turnout, the Democrats can significantly reduce their potential losses,” Dr. Bositis said.

“It is clear from this analysis that we have not reached the final chapter of the election story in many key states and Congressional districts, and that African American voters could end up being the authors of events, if they match their turnout rates from other recent mid-term elections,” said Joint Center President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph B. Everett who moderated the roundtable discussion.

Dr. Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow with The Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress, a renowned political demographer who participated on the panel commented, “This election isn't over yet. While the so-called likely voter poll results look exceptionally bad for the Democrats, it should be remembered that likely voters at this point in the campaign are just a guess as to who will show up on Election Day.”

The report is available on the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ website at www.jointcenter.org.

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