Depending on which poll you look at, approval for President Joe Biden among Black Americans, a core Democratic group, is slim to none.
Biden’s approval rating among Black people is 52 percent, down from 82 percent when he took office, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted April 28-May 3, 2023.
The ABC poll was based on a random national sample of 1,006 adults. The same poll showed that 27 percent of Black people say they’d definitely vote or lean toward Trump in 2024. He won 12 percent of Black voters in 2020.
While 68 percent of respondents say Biden is too old for another term as president, 44 percent see his opponent Donald Trump as too old. Trump is 76, Biden is 80. Trump also surpasses Biden in being seen as having the physical health and mental sharpness needed to serve effectively as president, while there are doubts about Biden.
And 54 percent of respondents said Trump did a better job handling the economy when he was president versus what Biden (36 percent) has done so far in his term.
Another poll, this one by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found a slightly higher Biden approval rating of 58 percent among Black adults as of May 7. When the same poll surveyed Black adults after Biden’s first month in office, his approval rating was at about 90 percent.
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Skyrocketing inflation has been devastating for Black Americans and could be part of the reason why Biden’s approval is taking among Black voters, The Root reported.
Black support for Biden took a noticeable hit at the beginning of the summer of 2022 as prices of everyday household items surged — 55 percent of Black Americans told NPR they were facing financial difficulties. Biden did regain much of his popularity closer to the midterm elections.
This wouldn’t be the first time Black support for Biden has sunk in the polls.
His 2020 presidential campaign also started weak, according to the AP. After a dismal start to Biden’s presidential campaign, Black voters in South Carolina rallied behind him, reviving his White House ambitions. They helped drive his Democratic rivals out of the race and ultimately put him on a path to defeating then-President Donald Trump.
Now at the beginning of Biden’s reelection bid, there are early warning signs that he faces challenges.
Black voters were the heart of Biden’s support base and waning approval ratings could be consequential in some of the most competitive states such as Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, wrote Ayanna Alexander for AP.
The Biden campaign says it’s confident in its message and is planning to highlight how the president has prioritized issues that are important to Black Americans.
“The progress made in the first two years — whether it’s the historically low black unemployment rate, unprecedented funding to HBCUs, or halving the black poverty rate in half — is all at stake in 2024,” campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said in an email. “The campaign will work hard to earn every vote, and expand on its winning 2020 coalition.”
Only about half of Democrats overall say they want Biden to run again in 2024, but 81 percent say they would definitely or probably support him if he’s nominated. Among Black adults, fewer — 41 percent — say they want him to run and just 55 percent say they are likely to support him in the general election.
Inflation is just one part of the picture, Jessica Washington reported for The Root. Failure to deliver on key promises such as student loan forgiveness are coming back to bite Biden, said Nina Smith, a political strategist and former senior advisor to Stacey Abrams. “If you promise something, you want to make sure that you can deliver on it.”
Democrats can’t take Black support for Biden for granted or assume their votes are guaranteed, Smith said. “Black voters and voters of color are persuasion voters, in terms of voter behavior. Yes, they have a propensity to support Democrats. But the real persuasion is getting them to show up on election day.”
How these numbers will translate on election day 2024 is anyone’s guess. Ohio State Professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries cautioned against trying to read too much into them until high-profile supporters such as the Obamas get a chance to stump for him again.
“I think the numbers will go back up as the campaign touts some of the things that he has actually accomplished,” Jeffries said. “I don’t think they have necessarily done a very good job at that.”