Although African-Americans continue to be among President Obama’s strongest base of supporters, new poll numbers show that the president may need to put forth more effort into garnering Black support ahead of the 2012 elections as support for him slips amid critical issues such as high unemployment.
According to a Washington Post-ABC news poll, just 58 percent of African-Americans hold “strongly favorable” views of Obama in contrast to the 83 percent who shared those feelings five months ago.
“There is a certain amount of racial loyalty and party loyalty, but eventually that was going to have to weaken,” Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University told the Washington Post. “It’s understandable given the economy.”
And the criticism is mounting along with calls for the Black community to rethink their assessment of Obama’s leadership given the state of the economy.
“With the continuing high unemployment rates and the questionable political maneuvers, it’s becoming more and more obvious: Black Americans should at least ensure that they get unquestioned results from the Obama administration before giving him unyielding support in 2012,” Republican commentator Lenny McAllister wrote in the Chicago Defender. “At some point, most Black Americans are going to admit that they are just as enslaved to archaic racial loyalties as the ‘oppressors’ that they claim to abhor,” he said.
The trend is not exclusive to the Black community however; among all Americans the number of people holding favorable impressions of Obama has slipped to under 50 percent for the first time since he took office. Earlier this month, a coalition of outspoken liberals — led by Cornel West and Ralph Nader — began a campaign to find a liberal challenger to Obama ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
“We need to put strong Democratic pressure on President Obama in the name of poor and working people” said West, who spent part of August on a poverty tour to highlight what he and PBS host Tavis Smiley said was a lack of support and attention to poor communities. “His administration has tilted too much toward Wall Street, we need policies that empower Main Street.”
(Photo: Joshua Roberts / Reuters)