Much-Anticipated Poll of Black Voters in Swing States Is Out, and It’s Not Good for Joe Biden

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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The much-hyped Suffolk poll of black voters in two major swing states has been released, and it’s not exactly good news for Joe Biden. According to the results, the incumbent is in a markedly worse position this time around compared to 2020. 

In the state of Michigan, Biden pulls in just 55 percent of the total black vote, with Donald Trump taking 15 percent while independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West haul in 15 percent as well. 

The topline number for Biden is likely to rise as the undecided come home, but that’s not what’s newsworthy about this poll. What’s most relevant is the shift, and in Michigan, black voters have moved toward Trump by six points. 

The story in Pennsylvania, while somewhat better, still represents a net negative for Biden. In 2020, eight percent of those polled voted for Trump. In this latest iteration, 11 percent of black voters now support him. Further, 76 percent of the total surveyed voted for Biden four years ago. The president is stuck in the mid-50s as things stand. Even if every undecided voter breaks for him, he’s still six points short of his prior performance. 


ALSO SEE: Trump Edges Biden in Two Blue States


What’s driving those numbers? Biden’s policies led the list of reasonings with the president’s age and mental acuity coming in second. That’s a double-whammy of bad news given neither aspect can change before the election. It’s too late to enact any sweeping policy initiatives or for them to show results, and obviously, Biden isn’t going to de-age in front of our eyes. 

As to one popular Republican talking point regarding Trump’s criminal convictions and black voters sympathizing with him, that wasn’t backed up by the numbers. A higher percentage of black voters disagreed with the idea that the former president was being unfairly targeted than support Biden. The GOP probably shouldn’t count on that being a decisive issue. Again, as shown above, it’s policy failures and Biden being senile that are changing minds.

There is one caveat to this poll, though, and that’s low-propensity voters. While the poll shows 76 percent of black respondents voted for Biden in 2020, exit polls in 2020 show that the actual number was 92 percent. That means a significant part of the president’s decline is being driven by new voters who didn’t show up the last go around. Will they this time? Because if they don’t, these poll results suddenly become pretty irrelevant. 

That’s going to be Trump’s challenge going forward. Leading the polls is great, but turnout is key. He can have the greatest polls in the world, but if the low-propensity voters who are making up the difference don’t show up, then none of it matters. Given it’s a presidential year, turnout is expected to be high, and the evidence says that should favor Trump. If this were a mid-term, the situation would be far more tenuous. 

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