How the ‘Black Vote’ Performed in U.S. 2020 Elections

Blacks voted at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and for the first time in history may also have voted at a higher rate than whites, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, Election Day exit poll data and vote totals from selected cities and counties.

According to The Guardian, many African-Americans turned out to vote in the just-ended November 3, 2020, elections that appears to have gone in favor of the Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.

The Guardian said the recent election marks the highest turnout over the century, estimating the total number of voters at over 150 million, with the youth population voting favoring President-elect Biden.

“While knowledge at this stage is limited — polling data can be unreliable and national exit polls do not take into account geographic differences within demographics — experts say that some broader trends among those who voted for Joe Biden and Donald Trump are apparent,” the Guardian says.

The Brookings Institute has said Joe Biden’s performance over Trump reflects elements of both of these demographic constituencies, noting that if exit polls are to be believed, several voting blocs, comprising white and older Americans contributed to his success.

“This is not because white voters suddenly flocked to Biden and the Democrats — although in some cases they did. Nor is it the case that Democrats should abandon their growing ‘new American mainstream’, because they absolutely need them to succeed in the future. Instead, 2020’s exit polls indicate that in key Rust Belt and Sun Belt battlegrounds, Biden benefitted from lower Republican margins among some groups that handed Trump his 2016 victory,” Brookings has said.

Blacks voted at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and, for the first time in history, may also have voted at a higher rate than whites, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, Election Day exit poll data, and vote totals from selected cities and counties.

It may be recalled in 2016 Donald Trump got an impressive Electoral College victory after a campaign that revealed deep divisions by race, gender and education.

According to the Pew Research Center, Trump then won white voters by a margin almost identical to that of Mitt Romney, who lost the popular vote to Barack Obama in 2012. (Trump appears likely to lose the popular vote, which would make him only the fifth elected president to do so and still win office.)

Dr. Lorenzo Morris, Distinguished Professor and Chair Emeritus of Political Science at Howard University told the “Elections 2020: Virtual Reporting Tour (VRT),” before the November elections said one of the things that is often overlooked about the African American vote (the ‘black vote’, as is more commonly called), is that across space and across time, since the 1960s, it has been a stable and constant contributor to the development of national and local American politics.

Morris disclosed that since World War II, no Democrat, with the exception of Lyndon Baines Johnson, has won the presidency without the black vote. Johnson won the white vote.

He said this stellar moment for black voter achievement, 2012, in terms of turnout, everyone celebrates the contribution of the overall American electorate to the election of Obama and is disappointed with what happened with [Hillary] Clinton.”

Morris said in spite of the disappointment exhibited by many commentators after the 2016 election, in which they said the vote declined, “I want to argue basically that it did not decline, it simply stabilized. That may be illustrated by the fact that since the Voting Rights Act occurred, which was a singular moment, black voting has continually gone up or stabilized.”

Morris said many people celebrate the fact that finally in 2012, after so many years, the black vote reached and surpassed, in terms of turnout, the overall general American vote and then it abruptly declined in the last election.

“We must remember that the hardest things to do are to tell what black voting actually looks like because polling,” Morris said, “which is the only basis of identifying it since racial identification is not directly linked to voting or census in terms of voting, has been fairly inconsistent. A group with which I am involved is the only group that actually did a national poll of black voters.”

Bradley Jones, PhD, a research associate of Pew Research Center, who primarily works on U.S. Public during the opinion about politics, named race as one of the most important factors in American politics.

Dr. Jones said about half of white voters identify with or lean towards the Republican Party and about 40% do the same towards the Democratic Party.

He added that black voters overwhelmingly have associated with the Democratic Party and only a small minority say they feel closer to the Republican Party.

“Hispanics are about somewhere in between, where about 60% call themselves Democrats or lean towards the Democratic Party and about 30% with the Republicans,” Dr. Jones said.

“The one trend that we see in identification is the increasing share of the public who call themselves Independents, who decline to identify with either party. In fact, our most recent data on this from the telephone [surveys] shows that more voters call themselves independents than identity with either of the major parties. But again, when we follow up with those voters and we ask them if they lean towards one of the major parties, we find that people who tell us they are closer to one of the major parties act very much like those who say they identify with the parties,” he said.


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