Politics

Black Americans Feel 'Cheated' by Election 2000

But 58% say they accept Bush as the legitimate president

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- As George W. Bush works to unite the country in the aftermath of the election, a new Gallup poll indicates that he will have an especially difficult time gaining the support of black Americans. While the contested election divided the country along party lines, it also apparently had a particularly significant impact within the African-American community. The poll shows that while white Democrats continue to view the election and President-elect George W. Bush in a much more negative light than do Republicans, black Americans -- about 90% of whom say they are Democrats -- are even more upset about the outcome.

  • Almost seven in 10 blacks (68%) say that they feel "cheated" after the election, compared to 55% of white Democrats.
  • More than one-third (37%) of blacks say that they feel "bitter," compared to 26% of white Democrats.
  • About one-third of both white Democrats (31%) and blacks (36%) say they feel "angry" about Bush's victory.

Blacks Feel the Process was Unfair
Throughout the post-election period, there has been an extreme partisan divide in public perception of the Gore campaign's effort to hold manual recounts in Florida, and, ultimately, about the outcome. Although this partisanship is still evident -- 85% of Republicans say that Bush won fairly, compared to just 18% of Democrats -- blacks are much more likely than white Democrats to say that Bush "stole the election."

Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

 

2000 Dec 15-17

Won fair
and square

Won on technicality

Stole
the election

No
opinion

         
 

%

%

%

%

(National Adults)

48

32

18

2

(WhiteDemocrats)

21

52

26

1

(Blacks)

7

39

50

4

(Whites)

54

31

14

1

(Republicans)

85

11

3

1

(Democrats)

18

49

31

1



Fifty percent of blacks say Bush stole the election, compared with 26% of white Democrats. White Democrats are most likely to say that Bush "won on a technicality" or that he "won fair and square." These figures contrast sharply with the opinions of blacks, just 7% of whom say Bush won "fair and square" and 39% of whom say he "won on a technicality."

This feeling of injustice, stronger among blacks than whites, may be related to the fact that a majority of blacks -- 64% -- feel that fraud was involved in Florida's voting procedures, while most white Democrats -- 57% -- say that there were certainly errors made, but fraud was not a factor. Additionally, blacks across the country feel that black voters in Florida were less likely to have their votes counted fairly in that state than were white voters -- 68% of blacks agree with that sentiment, compared to 47% of white Democrats and 17% of Republicans.

These negative perceptions of the election system on the part of African Americans extend beyond this election and Florida. The vast majority of African-Americans (76%) say the election system in this country is discriminatory (although a much smaller number, 34%, say the system in their own community is discriminatory.) White Democrats are less negative in their perceptions. Sixty-two percent believe the election system across the country discriminates and 16% say the system in their own community is biased. Republicans are much less likely to see bias at both levels.

Fifty-one percent of black Americans say they have "very little confidence" in the election system in this country, a sentiment shared by 45% of white Democrats but by just 20% of Republicans. Forty-four percent of Republicans have "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of confidence in the system

Despite the varied levels of confidence in the system, on one point it appears that blacks and whites, and Democrats and Republicans, agree: The election system in this country needs some degree of reform. Twenty eight percent of Americans say the system needs a "complete overhaul", and another 39% say it needs a major reform. Black Americans, however, are most likely to perceive the need for this type of change -- 42% of blacks say that the system is in need of a "complete overhaul," and another 40% say it needs major reforms.

Most Black Americans Say "Permanent Harm" Done to the United States This Year
In light of the negative opinion blacks have of the presidential election this year, it is not surprising that blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the election has inflicted ‘permanent harm' on the country -- 68% of blacks express that view, compared to 44% of white Democrats. Taken as a whole, 39% of all Americans agree with the "permanent harm" assertion.

Bush's Efforts to Reach Out to Minorities Suffered a Major Setback
George W. Bush has taken several opportunities this year to stress his efforts to make the Republican Party more inclusive of minorities. The post-election process, however, has apparently muted the perception among black Americans that he will actually work towards this end. Seventy percent of blacks now say that Bush willnotwork hard to represent the interests of black Americans. This number has jumped significantly since August, immediately following the Republican convention, when 54% of blacks said Bush would not work hard to represent their interests.

Still, when asked if they will accept George W. Bush as ‘legitimate president", 58% of blacks say yes.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18+, conducted December 15-17, 2000. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

Results based on subsample of 380 white Democrats have a margin of sampling error of +/- 6 percentage points.

Results based on subsample of 297 African-Americans have a margin of sampling error of +/- 7 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Now that George W. Bush has been declared the winner and will be inaugurated next January, will you accept him as the legitimate president, or not?

 

 

Yes, accept

No, not accept

No opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

83%

16

1

2000 Dec 15-17White Democrats

73%

26

 

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

58%

40

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

86%

13

1



Do you consider yourself to be a supporter of George W. Bush, or not?

 

 

Yes, supporter

No, not

No opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

49%

49

2

2000 Dec 15-17 (White Democrats)

19%

81

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

13%

84

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

55%

44

1



Q.6/Q.7 COMBINED RESPONSES

 

2000 Dec 15-17

National Adults

 

Blacks

 

Whites

       

Accept and support Bush

49%

13

55

Accept but do not support Bush

32%

44

31

Do not accept Bush

17%

40

13

       

No opinion

2%

3

1



Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

 

 

Won fair
and square

Won on technicality

Stole
the election

No
opinion

         

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

48%

32

18

2

2000 Dec 15-17 (White Democrats)

21%

52

26

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

7%

39

50

4

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

54%

31

14

1



Have George W. Bush's statements and actions over the last week made you more confident or less confident in his ability to serve as president?

 

 

More
confident

Less
confident

No difference (vol.)

No
opinion

         

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

54%

28

14

4

2000 Dec 15-17 (White Democrats)

36%

42

18

5

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

18%

60

15

7

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

59%

23

14

4



Do each of the following describe or not describe your reaction to the fact that George W. Bush has been declared the winner of the presidency? How about --[ROTATED]?

A. Thrilled

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

24%

75

1

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

5%

94

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

6%

92

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

27%

72

1



B. Pleased

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

49%

51

*

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

15%

85

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

12%

87

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

53%

47

*



Q.15 CONTINUED

C. Relieved

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

62%

37

1

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

41%

59

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

33%

66

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

66%

33

1



D. Bitter

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

16%

84

*

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

26%

74

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

37%

62

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

13%

87

*



E. Cheated

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

32%

67

1

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

55%

45

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

68%

29

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

28%

72

*



F. Angry

 

Yes,
describes

No, does not describe

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

18%

82

*

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

31%

69

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

36%

62

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

16%

84

*



Do you think the country is -- or is not -- more deeply divided this year on the major issues facing the country than it has been in the past several years?

 

 

 

Yes, more
deeply divided

 

 

No, not more deeply divided

 

COUNTRY NOT DIVIDED (vol.)

 

 

 

No
opinion

         

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

64%

33

1

2

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

66%

32

1

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

78%

19

1

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

62%

35

1

2



Do you think that George W. Bush will or will not work hard to represent the interests of black Americans?

 

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

       
 

%

%

%

National Adults

     

(NA) 2000 Dec 15-17

61

33

6

       

(NA) 2000 Aug 4-5 ^

66

25

9

       

Blacks

     

(NA) 2000 Dec 15-17

22

70

8

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

42

52

6

(RV) 2000 Aug 4-6 ^

37

54

9

       

Whites

     

(NA) 2000 Dec 15-17

67

28

5

       

(RV) 2000 Aug 4-5 ^

70

22

8

       

^

WORDING: Do you think that, if elected, George W. Bush would or would not work hard to represent the interests of black Americans?



Now thinking more generally about elections in this country,

How much confidence do you have in the system in which votes are cast and counted in this country -- a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?

 

A great deal

Quite
a lot


Some

Very
little

NONE (vol.)

No
opinion

             

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

15%

15

32

35

2

1

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

8%

11

33

45

3

*

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

9%

6

28

51

5

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

16%

16

33

33

2

*



Q. 24/Q. 25 ROTATED

In general, do you think the system in which votes are cast and counted in THIS COUNTRY -- [ROTATED: discriminates against some people, (or) is fair to all Americans]?

 

Discriminates
against some people

 

Is fair to
all Americans

 

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

44%

52

4

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

62%

36

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

76%

20

4

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

39%

57

4



In general, do you think the system in which votes are cast and counted in YOUR COMMUNITY -- [ROTATED: discriminates against some people, (or) is fair to all to the people in your community]?

 

Discriminates
against some people

Is fair to people
in your community

 

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

14%

83

3

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

16%

82

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

34%

61

5

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

11%

87

2



Do you think black voters were -- or were not -- less likely to have their votes counted fairly in Florida than whites?

 

Were
less likely

Were not
less likely

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

34%

53

13

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

47%

40

14

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

68%

24

8

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

30%

58

12



Do you think the system in which votes are cast and counted in this country is in need of -- [ROTATED: a complete overhaul, major reforms, minor reforms, (or) no reforms]?

 

Complete overhaul

Major
reforms

Minor
reforms

No
reforms

No
opinion

           

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

28%

39

27

4

2

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

32%

47

19

1

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

42%

40

13

3

2

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

27%

39

29

3

2



What is your view on voting in this year's presidential election in Florida? Do you think -- [ROTATED: there was fraud involved, (or do you think) there were errors, but no fraud involved]?

 

 

Fraud
involved

Errors,
but no fraud

NO ERRORS
MADE (vol.)

No
opinion

         

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

31%

64

2

3

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

39%

57

1

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

64%

33

*

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

26%

68

3

3



Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: there has been permanent harm done to the United States as a result of the election process this year, (or) there has been no permanent harm done to the United States as a result of the election process this year]?

 

Has been
permanent harm

No permanent
harm

No
opinion

       

2000 Dec 15-17(National Adults)

39%

59

2

2000 Dec 15-17 (WhiteDemocrats)

44%

55

1

2000 Dec 15-17(Blacks)

68%

29

3

2000 Dec 15-17(Whites)

36%

63

1



*Less than 0.5%

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/2188/Black-Americans-Feel-Cheated-Election-2000.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030