What Enthusiasm Can the Democrats and Republicans Expect in 2016?
By Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Exclusive polling by the NAACP on election eve examined the role of Black voters in the 2012 presidential election and offered a glimpse into the political mindset and future of African-American voters.
“This data underscores the decisive role we played in key battleground states,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP in a statement.
In the key states of Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia, African-American support for President Obama ranged from 92-99 percent. And Black voters comprised between 12 percent to 33 percent of the vote in the respective states. “We turned out in every place that mattered,” Jealous told the AFRO in a post-election interview.
The polls also belied the pre-election narrative that Blacks were no longer enthusiastic about an Obama White House. Ninety-three percent of the survey’s respondents said they remained enthusiastic about President Obama while 79 percent said they are “very enthusiastic.”
However, in 2016, when Obama is out of the picture, Black support enthusiasm for a Democratic candidate is less certain. Only 47 of respondents were “very enthusiastic” for a Democrat candidacy and 14 percent said they are more likely to vote for a Republican in the future if the candidate has civil rights issues on their agenda.
“It reveals opportunities for the GOP to improve its relationship with our community, and suggests the Democratic Party should not assume it will see the 2008 and 2012 levels of Black turnout in 2016,” Jealous stated.
Still, if the GOP is to gain a stronger foothold within the Black electorate, it would need to revise or better communicate its stance on key issues, particularly civil rights concerns. Fifty-four percent of respondents said Republicans “don’t care at all about civil rights,” while another 32 percent think the party “just says what minorities want to hear.”
The Democratic Party got higher ratings on civil rights advancement and on other items on the Black agenda. African Americans seem to trust Democrats more than Republicans to address issues such as jobs, education and economic opportunity, including poverty, public education, healthcare, and creating jobs.
The NAACP battleground poll, conducted by Pacific Market Research, interviewed 1,600 African American voters who had already voted, or were certain to vote in the Nov. 6 election. The margin of error was 2.5 percent overall and 4.9 percent in each state.
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