While most African-Americans still support the president, many have changed. This is not good heading into 2012.
When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he got 43 percent of the white vote and a staggering 96 percent of the Black vote. In the ensuing years, his support amongst Americans in general has wavered—he’s currently at 45 percent approval, 45 percent disapproval—but his African-American support has been consistently high. Today, that appears to not be the case.
Just to be clear and up front: Obama is no way in danger of losing the support of the vast majority of Blacks. As of today, 85 percent of African-Americans still say they support the president. That is a lot; that is most.
That being said, however, 85 percent—a seven percent drop in the past month—is the lowest Obama’s Black approval rating has been since he took office more than two years ago. This isn’t horrible news, but it’s not good, either.
As we’ve told you here before, some Black Americans weren’t pleased when Obama decided to engage with Libya, with Louis Farrakhan outright denouncing the attacks. Many Americans are also extremely worried about an impending government shutdown on Friday. On top of all that, the economy is still struggling, and Black Americans especially are finding it difficult to find work.
As we head into the 2012 election season, Obama is going to need all the grassroots help he can get. In 2008, Blacks made up a full 13 percent of the electorate, which is two points higher than their last national turnout. It’s unlikely that Black voters are going to vote for Obama’s Republican opponent, but it’s possible that they’ll stay home come Election Day, and Obama can’t have that. His approval is also down amongst Latinos, from 65 percent to 54 percent.
Let this be a lesson to anyone racist and silly enough to say that Blacks support Obama no matter what out of racial loyalties. That’s’ simply not true; Blacks, like everyone else, will consider their stability and self-interest when making political decisions. And they’re doing that now.