Press Release

New poll: Majority of African American voters believe economic conditions are “poor” for their communities

By Black Economic Alliance |

WASHINGTON – A new survey of five battleground states out today shows that 62 percent of African American registered voters are dissatisfied with the country’s direction and believe economic conditions are “poor” or “very poor” for the Black community.

Commissioned by the Black Economic Alliance, the poll of voters in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee finds that nearly half of the respondents think economic conditions are getting worse for African Americans and fully 56 percent are following midterm election news and political information “very closely.”

“In cycle after cycle, Black voters have played a major role in determining who wins elections from the state house to the White House – but there remains a real disconnect between the elected leaders who depend on our support and the kinds of economic policies that determine the opportunities available to our community,” said Akunna Cook, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance. “Our research sends a clear message to candidates and elected leaders on both sides of the aisle: Black voters are deeply dissatisfied with the status quo, and we want champions who will drive an economic agenda that benefits Black Americans.”

The poll results make a strong case for both candidates for elected office and the groups working to turn out Black voters for the midterm elections to make economic messaging – and policy proposals that will improve outcomes for the Black community – a central part of their appeal to this critical voting bloc. In particular, while African American voters overwhelmingly view President Trump negatively – fully 85 percent disapprove of his job performance – they are somewhat more motivated by the need to promote an issue agenda than serving as a check on this Administration. Drop-off voters and undecided voters are especially more motivated by the need to support issues important to the Black community, with 50 percent and 58 percent, respectively, indicating an issue agenda as a primary impetus for voting in November.

Other key findings from the poll include:

  • The top five issues respondents would include in an economic agenda were health care affordability (87%), Investing in skills training (85%), affordable child care (86%), college affordability (83%), and eliminating race and gender wage gaps (83%)
  • Only 14 percent of respondents believe economic conditions are improving

The Black Economic Alliance poll was conducted by telephone between September 20 – September 27 and surveyed 804 African American voters with a margin of error of +/- 7.7%

Led by a group of executives from a wide range of industries, the nonpartisan Black Economic Alliance launched its 2018 multimillion-dollar effort in August to fight for economic policies that will help Black communities access sorely-needed opportunities. To date, the Black Economic Alliance has endorsed more than two dozen candidates in key congressional, U.S. Senate, and gubernatorial races – including gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, Rich Cordray in Ohio, former Tennessee Governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, Lauren Baer (FL-18), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Debbie Powell (FL-26), and others.

Black voters have already proven to be a critical demographic for 2018 special elections – notably in Alabama, where the Black vote played a key role in Doug Jones’ upset victory – and the Black Economic Alliance has targeted competitive races where advanced data and analytics show that the Black vote can be similarly decisive.