Enthusiastic support from Black voters is key to President Joe Biden winning a second term in the White House. In 2020, Black South Carolina voters gave Biden’s campaign the boost it needed that propelled him to victory over former President Donald Trump. Black voter apathy in 2024 could doom Biden’s reelection bid.
A recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll took the pulse of Black Americans and found that Biden has a high approval rating among them, even though the president has largely failed to convince Black voters that his policies improved their lives.
Published on Wednesday (May 24), the survey taken from April 28 to May 12 asked more than 1,200 Black Americans if they approved of how Biden is handling his job. About two-thirds of them (66 percent) gave Biden a thumbs-up, compared to 36 percent of Americans overall who approved of Biden’s job performance, The Washington Post reports.
While Blacks gave Biden high marks on job performance, only about a third of them (34 percent) said that his policies helped the Black community, and nearly half (49 percent) said his policies had no impact on their lives.
Up to this point in his presidency, Republicans have made every effort to block Biden’s agenda – even when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in his first two years.
Passing voting rights legislation, for example, was a Biden agenda item that died in the Senate.
After Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, Republican lawmakers in several states passed an array of ballot restrictions apparently targeting Black voters, claiming they were needed to prevent voter fraud, which is rare. Starting in 2021, lawmakers passed at least 42 restrictive voting laws in 21 states that a Brennan Center for Justice analysis found more prevalent in red states with racially diverse populations.
In response, Democrats introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which is aimed at fighting voter suppression and restoring enforcement provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It passed in the House but stalled in the Senate because of the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to advance certain legislation.
Republicans have also opposed Biden’s student loan debt relief plan that the administration launched in August. Black college graduates borrow at a higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups, with more than 80 percent of Black bachelor’s degree recipients owing an average of $34,000, according to The Institute for College Access and Success. Unsurprisingly, Blacks also default at a higher rate.
Police reform also hit a roadblock in Congress. There was strong momentum after the death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of White former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Floyd. But a legislative impasse halted negotiations in 2021 of the proposed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Despite their disappointment with the failure to pass certain legislation, the survey found that only 8 percent of Black voters would be “angry” if Biden won reelections – compared to nearly 80 percent of them who said they would be “angry” if Trump won the White House in 2024.