Black voters’ support for President Biden remains the highest among most demographics, but it has weakened since he took office, according to a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll.
The poll of about 1,250 Black Americans found that 70 percent approve of how Biden is handling his job, but only 23 percent “strongly approve.” The results may signal Black voters’ frustration with a lack of progress Biden and congressional Democrats have made on certain key issues as the midterm elections approach.
Black voters consistently vote overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic candidates, and Biden carried Black voters in the 2020 presidential election with 92 percent of the vote, according to Pew Research Center. Biden was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since 1992, at least in part a result of encouraging more Black Americans more Black Americans to vote.
The Post poll found that only 60 percent of respondents said they feel Biden is keeping most of his major campaign promises. Biden has backed several pieces of legislation related to issues that impact many Black voters, such as police reform and voting rights, but an evenly-divided Senate has allowed Republicans to block those measures. Democrats have a tie-breaking vote in Vice President Harris, but they need to attain at least 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and advance legislation.
More than 60 percent of respondents said they were disappointed or angry about Democrats’ failure to pass voting rights legislation, but more than 80 percent said they blame Biden “not at all” or “a little,” according to the Post.
Still, the number of respondents who said they think Biden is sympathetic to Black Americans’ problems dropped from 74 percent in 2020 to 66 percent. About 75 percent of those polled said Biden has done “a little” or “nothing” to reduce discrimination in the criminal justice system.
After federal legislation on police reform failed in the Senate, Biden signed an executive order to create a national database of officers who have been fired for misconduct and significantly limit chokeholds and no-knock warrants, but the order applies only to federal officials, not state or local officials. Biden has said he wants to continue to push for more comprehensive reforms, but a legislative path for that is uncertain.
Almost 90 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district in November, but only half said the outcome of the midterm elections matters “a great deal” to them. More than three-quarters said the same leading up to the 2020 election. Only 62 percent said they would “absolutely” vote this year, compared to 85 percent in 2020. The decrease in the number of Black voters who said they would definitely vote was 23 points compared to a 12-point drop for white voters.
Among a potential list of candidates for the 2024 presidential election, 43 percent said they would prefer Biden to be the nominee. Harris followed with 29 percent.
Half of those polled said Biden “has been good” for Black Americans, while only 4 percent said the same in 2020 for then-President Trump, who has been reported to be considering another run for the White House in two years.
The poll was conducted from April 21 to May 2 based on a random sample of 1,248 non-Hispanic Black adults and a partially overlapping sample of 977 adults. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.