Black Americans Maintain Strong Ties to Democratic Party

by Chris Chambers

Only one-fourth of black Americans say GOP does good job of representing interests of blacks

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Nearly four decades following the historic March on Washington, an overwhelming majority of black American voters -- 92% -- believe that discrimination against blacks is a serious problem in the United States. During this presidential campaign season, both the Democratic and Republican parties have highlighted issues surrounding race and have made intensive efforts to portray themselves as inclusive and sensitive to issues unique to marginalized groups including blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities. According to a Gallup poll conducted August 4-6, 2000, among black Americans who are registered to vote, these efforts by the two parties appear to strike a responsive chord. More than half of African-Americans -- 54% -- indicate that the presidential candidates' positions on race relations will be "extremely important" in influencing their votes for president.

Data collected immediately following the Republican convention suggested that black voters did not move towards the GOP in substantial numbers -- at least not immediately -- and that blacks continue to believe that Democrats do a substantially better job of reaching out to minorities than do their Republican counterparts. Only 28% of black adults feel that the Republican Party is doing a good job of reaching out to blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities, while nearly three in five -- 59% -- feel that it is doing a bad job. In contrast, in the poll, conducted a week prior to the Democratic Party's national convention, a strong majority of black adults -- 80% -- indicate that the Democratic Party successfully reaches out to minorities, while only 8% disagree.

Democrats More Closely Represent the Interests and Values of Black Americans
Black voters believe that the Democratic Party not only does a better job of reaching out to minorities, but also that it more closely represents the interests and values of black Americans than does the Republican Party. About three-quarters of black adults believe that the Democratic Party is doing a good job of representing blacks' interests and values. By contrast, only 28% of black adults think the Republican Party is doing a good job of representing blacks' interests and just 13% feel the GOP closely represents blacks' values. When black voters are asked which of the two major-party candidates shares their values, Al Gore receives overwhelming majority support, by 69% to 17% over George W. Bush. Further, more than half of black voters -- 54% -- do not believe that George W. Bush, if elected president, would work hard to represent the interests of black Americans.

Race Relations More Important to Black Voters Than to White Voters
When asked to rate the importance of various issues surrounding the presidential election, black voters classify race relations much more highly than do white voters. Black voters put race relations in fifth place, with 89% rating it "extremely" or "very" important. The number-one position is given to education, with 99% of blacks rating the issue as "extremely" or "very" important, followed by health care (93%), Medicare (92%) and Social Security (92%). White voters do not consider race relations to be as important. It comes in ninth, with only 64% of whites rating it "extremely" or "very" important.

The poll highlighted an interesting pattern found in reference to a number of situations: Americans are much more critical of social problems or issues in a general sense than they are in terms of their own personal situations. In this poll, 60% of black Americans said that discrimination against blacksin this countryis a very serious problem today, but only 27% said that discrimination against blacks is a very serious problemin the area where they live. (In other polls, Americans are more critical of education across the country than they are of education in their local schools, more critical of Congress in general than they are of their own congressperson, and more critical of the health care system in general than they are of their own health care situation.)

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 270 black registered voters, 18 years and older, conducted August 4-6, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 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.

Which party do you think better represents your values -- the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?

 

 


Republican Party


Democratic Party

BOTH/
EQUALLY (vol.)


NEITHER (vol.)


No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

46%

43

4

4

3

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

13%

76

3

3

5

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

51%

40

3

3

3



Now I am going to read a list of some of the issues that will probably be discussed in this year's presidential election campaigns. As I read each one, please tell me how important the candidates' positions on that issue will be in influencing your vote for president -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not important. [RANDOM ORDER]

A. The economy

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

41%

44

13

2

*

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

49%

38

10

1

2

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

42%

42

14

0

0



B. Taxes

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

40%

42

16

2

*

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

47%

41

10

2

*

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

40%

40

17

3

*



C. Social Security

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

43%

40

14

3

*

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

57%

35

7

1

*

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

43%

39

15

3

*



D. Medicare

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

37%

39

21

3

*

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

59%

33

8

*

0

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

37%

38

22

3

*



E. Health Care

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

44%

40

12

3

1

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

56%

37

5

2

0

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

46%

38

13

3

*



F. Education

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

50%

41

7

2

*

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

60%

39

1

*

0

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

50%

41

7

2

*



G. The gun issue

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

29%

35

23

12

1

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

38%

35

20

6

1

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

31%

32

22

14

1



H. Abortion

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

29%

27

22

20

2

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

29%

27

23

18

3

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

29%

26

24

18

3



I. National defense

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

34%

39

22

4

1

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

33%

35

25

4

3

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

36%

39

21

4

*



J. Handling the budget surplus

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           
2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

39%

41

15

4

1

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

45%

35

14

3

3

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

40%

41

15

3

1



K. Race Relations

 

 

Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

30%

37

24

8

1

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

54%

35

8

3

*

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

28%

36

27

8

1



Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one applies more to Al Gore or more to George W. Bush. How about shares your values?

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/SAME (vol.)

NEITHER (vol.)

No opinion

           

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

38%

51

5

3

3

           

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

69%

17

5

4

5

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

35%

56

4

3

2



Would you say [RANDOM ORDER] is generally doing a good job or a bad job these days, of reaching out to blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities? How about ...?

A. The Republican Party

 

Good job

Bad job

NEITHER/ MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

50%

33

6

11

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

28%

59

6

7

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

52%

30

7

11



B. The Democratic Party

 

Good job

Bad job

NEITHER/ MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

68%

18

5

9

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

80%

8

7

5

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

68%

18

5

9



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

 

Yes, would

No, would not

No opinion

2000 Aug 4-5 (NA)

66%

25

9

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

37%

54

9

2000 Aug 4-5 Whites (RV)

70%

22

8



Do you think the Democratic Party today is doing a good job or a poor job of representing the interests of blacks?

 

Good job

Poor job

MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

75%

13

5

7

1995 Jul 20-23 Blacks ^

39%

39

13

9

1995 Jul 20-23 Whites ^^

45%

30

7

18

1994 Aug 23-25 Blacks ^

49%

39

7

5

 

^ Based on Black National Adults

^^ Based on White National Adults



Do you think the Republican Party today is doing a good job or a poor job of representing the interests of blacks?

 

Good job

Poor job

MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

2000 Aug 4-6 Blacks (RV)

28%

60

6

6



How serious a problem do you think racial discrimination against blacks is where you live--as a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious, or not at all serious?

 

Very serious

Somewhat serious

Not too serious

Not at all serious

No opinion

Black Adults

2000 Aug 4-6 (RV)

27%

37

27

7

2

1995 Oct 5-7

18%

32

37

9

4

1993 Feb 8-9

35%

32

20

11

2

National Adults

1996 Aug 5-7

8%

25

37

28

2

1996 Jul 25-28

7%

22

39

30

2

1996 Jul 18-21

10%

23

40

26

1

1996 Jun 27-30

12%

23

40

24

1

1995 Oct 5-7

8%

23

42

24

3

1993 Feb 8-9

10%

24

37

23

6



How serious a problem do you think racial discrimination against blacks is in this country--as a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious, or not at all serious?

 

Very serious

Somewhat serious

Not too serious

Not at all serious

No opinion

Black Adults

2000 Aug 4-6 (RV)

60%

32

6

*

2

1995 Oct 5-7

45%

36

11

2

6

National Adults

1996 Aug 5-7

23%

46

22

5

4

1996 Jul 25-28

22%

48

24

5

1

1996 Jul 18-21

25%

47

22

4

2

1996 Jun 27-30

26%

48

20

3

3

1995 Oct 5-7

23%

52

17

4

4



* Less than 0.5%
(vol.) Volunteered response
(NA) National Adults
(RV) Registered Voters

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