No one would be surprised to learn that Hillary Clinton is more popular with black voters than is Donald Trump. However, a recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist showed Donald Trump getting zero percent of the black vote in both Ohio, and Pennsylvania was a shocker. The poll further revealed that on the national level Clinton has support from 80% of black voters while Trump is backed by only 6% of African-American voters. The poll gave Clinton a slight overall lead of 42-39 percent nationally which means that Trump is doing quite well with white voters and Clinton with black voters. For those concerned about rising racial tensions in the country that divide is not encouraging.
Black Americans have long supported the Democrat Party
Democrats have long relied on the support of black Americans. Democratic Presidents enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, landmarks in the civil rights movement. Republicans have often opposed the expansion of civil rights laws and is not surprising that African-American voters prefer Democrats over Republicans. African Americans overwhelmingly back Democratic candidates in presidential and congressional elections—averaging about 88 percent support since 1980. And polling from past elections has shown that blacks are more likely to stay home on Election Day than to switch their vote to Republican presidential candidates. The black electorate mostly votes for Democrats, or not at all. — The Atlantic
America’s first black President
African Americans were instrumental in electing Barack Obama as the first black President in 2008. Black voters supported Obama by a margin of 95% to 4% for John McCain in 2008. In 2012, the margin was slightly smaller with 93% supporting President Obama and 6% voting for Mitt Romney. In the context of the 2008 and 2012 elections, Mr. Trump’s current level of support at 6% of the black vote does not appear as discouraging assuming that all 6% of Trump’s black supporters actually turn out and vote.
Without the support of black voters in the 2016 primaries, it is questionable if Hillary Clinton would have beaten Sen. Bernie Sanders. On Super Tuesday, she won the support of black voters with 68 percent of their votes. Even in states lacking significant black populations she had the critical support of black activists. The key for Hillary Clinton will be to translate her popularity among black voters into actual votes on November 8. President Obama repeated his rallying cry from 2012 ‘Don’t boo. Vote.’ at a rally with Hillary Clinton last week. If she can match the 66% of registered black voters that voted in 2012, her road to the White House will be much easier.