Blacks' Approval of President Obama Remains High
Politics

Blacks' Approval of President Obama Remains High

by Frank Newport

Story Highlights

  • Blacks give Obama an 84% job approval rating so far in 2014
  • Approval has drifted downward since 2010, as it has nationally
  • Younger blacks' approval down more than that of older blacks

PRINCETON, N.J. -- President Barack Obama's job approval rating among U.S. blacks has stayed consistently about 40 percentage points higher than his approval among all Americans since 2010. So far in 2014, blacks' approval of Obama has averaged 84%, which is down from previous years but in line with the drop among the overall American population.

Trend: Obama Job Approval, Among Blacks and All Americans

These data are based on Gallup Daily tracking, consisting of about 15,000 interviews with blacks from January through November 2014, and larger samples of blacks in previous years.

Blacks in the U.S. are strongly Democratic in political orientation. Gallup's pre-election surveys and the national exit polls suggest that well over 90% of blacks voted for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, and Obama enjoys higher levels of support among blacks than among any other racial or ethnic group. Thus, analysis of Obama's job approval among blacks is not based on expectations that it is going to change dramatically, but rather on relative variations in that high level of support over time and changes among blacks relative to other racial groups.

Black Drop in Approval Parallels Overall Drop

Americans overall were significantly more positive about Obama in his first year in office, 2009, than they have been in the years since -- reflecting the honeymoon period that most presidents enjoy when they first take office. Black approval in 2009 was 92%, also the highest among this group of any of the Obama years so far. Obama's overall job approval rating dropped in 2010 and 2011, and rose again in 2012 when Obama was re-elected. It stayed at about that level in 2013, before falling this year to what will be the lowest annual average of his administration. Black approval has generally followed the same pattern, dropping slightly in 2011, rising slightly in 2012 and staying about the same in 2013, and falling this year to its lowest average so far.

On a near-term basis, black job approval trended somewhat lower in November of this year, which included the weeks after the president's executive actions on immigration. But for the first two weeks of December, black approval is back at 84%, exactly at his yearly average.

Obama Losing Support Among Younger Blacks

As is the case for younger Americans in general, Obama's support has been dropping disproportionately among younger blacks in recent years. In the first two years of his administration, Obama's approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old blacks was just a few points lower than his approval among older blacks. That approval gap by age has widened. In 2014, Obama's job approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old blacks (80%) is seven points lower than among blacks aged 50 to 64 (87%), and eight points lower than among blacks 65 and older (88%). Similarly, the gap between Obama's job rating among 30- to 49-year-old blacks and those who are aged 50 and older has widened slightly in the past two years.

Trend: Obama Job Approval, by Age, Among Blacks

Implications

Politically, black Americans are reliably Democratic, and have consistently given Obama the highest job approval ratings of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. That high level of support for Obama has drifted somewhat lower in recent years, but is generally in line with the drop in Obama's support overall. Black approval so far in 2014 remains more than 40 points higher than his overall average. Obama has lost more support among younger blacks than among those aged 50 and older, but this too follows the pattern observed among all Americans.

The relative stability in Obama's support among blacks contrasts with the more fluid support he receives among Hispanics. As a case in point, Obama's approval rating had fallen among Hispanics earlier this fall, but rose significantly in the weeks after his executive actions on immigration. Black support during this time underwent much less change, and, for the first two weeks in December, is exactly where it has been all year.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Nov. 30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 163,847 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 15,084 non-Hispanic blacks, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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