Voting Behavior and The Impact of The Black Vote in 2018 Midterm Electionsby NAACP November 21, 2018
Washington, DC — Today, the NAACP and Advancement Project national office joined with the African American Research Collaborative to provide the first comprehensive analysis of how Black voters voted this cycle and why. The new poll of mid-term voters, conducted by the African American Research Collaborative (in collaboration with Latino Decisions and Asian American Decisions), examines African American voters across various competitive elections to determine how this electorate engaged in 2018 and how these findings might shape the future of elections.
The key takeaway of this poll is clear: Democrats’ 2018 wins across the country were dependent on voters of color, particularly Black voters, as a majority of white voters supported Republicans.
- 90% of Black voters supported Democratic House candidates, compared to just 53% of all voters; 45% of white voters; 73% of Latinos; and 72% of Asian voters
This election was a referendum on President Trump. Black voters see the President and the current GOP as divisive, racist, and a step back for the nation.
- 72% of Black voters believe the Democrats are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; but 21% feel the Democrats don’t care too much about Blacks.
- Only 12% of Black voters believe the Republicans are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; and 55% feel the GOP doesn’t care too much about Blacks.
- 85% of Black women and 81% of Black men have felt disrespected by Donald Trump.
- Only 8% of Black voters believe Trump has a positive impact on Blacks, and 29% believe he has a negative impact.
- 89% of Black women, 83% of Black men, and 50% of white voters believe Trump’s statements and policies will cause a major setback for racial progress
- 91% of Black women, 86% of Black men, and 50% of white voters believe Trump and the GOP are using toxic rhetoric to divide the nation
- 82% of Black women, 76% of Black men, and 45% of white voters believe Trump and the Republicans are normalizing sexism and sexual harassment against women.
To have similar or greater wins in 2020, Democrats must invest in and engage communities of color and the issues that matter most to these constituents.
- Only 57% of Black voters were contacted from a campaign, political party, or community organization about voting in the months prior to Election Day.
- 75% were contacted by Democrats
- 34% were contacted by Republicans
- 39% were contacted by another group
- Black voters care about issues that affect all Americans, including:
- Health care (40%)
- The economy and jobs (21%)
- Income inequality and low wages (17%)
- Black voters support policies that unite and strengthen the nation:
- Equal pay for men and women (88%)
- Congress should pass the Dream Act (81%)
- Strengthening the Affordable Care Act (79%)
- Sexual harassment is a major problem (84%)
- Congress should enact strict gun laws (81%)
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, said, “There is one thing unequivocally clear about the data from this recent poll – if America is to become a democracy reflective of its ideals of liberty, opportunity and justice for all – it cannot do so without embracing, engaging and valuing the Black voter and voters of color, particularly Black women. This polls confirms that Black voters and the issues which motivate them can only be ignored at your own peril.”
Henry Fernandez, Principal, African American Research Collaborative, said, “African American voters are the backbone of the progressive vote in America and were essential to the blue wave that transformed American politics. In particular, Black women are a powerful political force with high turnout and unified vote choice that consistently and overwhelmingly supports progressive change. Black voters and other voters of color have reacted strongly against Trump but also against the Republican party as it embraces Trumpism. This was demonstrated in the 2018 midterms, as a majority of white voters supported Republican candidates, but Democrats won across the country as voters of color turned out in record numbers.”
Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project national office, said, “This past mid-term election cycle has shown us the power of communities of color in particular, and our desire to engage when people think we are apathetic. People of color turned out and were engaged. Voters of color are poised to seize our power and Advancement Project’s national office and our allies are readying for the next big thing – 2020 – to make sure our vote is protected; to ensure our elections are free, fair and accessible. This polling suggests that people want action, change as it relates to racial profiling, immigrant justice and, really, respect. We are making sure this happens by working with partners on the ground and using this research to inform our collective strategies and work toward a more diverse and just democracy.”
Professor Ray Block, Jr., University of Kentucky, African American Research Collaborative, said, “The 2018 American Election Eve Poll provides further evidence that America is anything but ‘post-racial.’ Identity-group considerations continue to shape the political landscape and guide the thoughts and actions of voters. The outcomes of the 2018 midterms confirm that African Americans turned out in strong numbers to support candidates who backed progressive issues, and candidates who seek (re)election in 2020 should remember the lessons learned from this past election.”
Jamal R. Watkins, NAACP Vice President of Civic Engagement, said, “What this poll and our previous research tells us is that, in order to reach Black voters, we must be explicit about our issues and specific in communicating directly with black voters. The NAACP recognized that in order to reach the infrequent Black voter, we must be specific in our language, issues and our relational organizing strategies. The NAACP engaged in a national campaign targeting Black voters via cutting edge messaging, analysis and outreach utilizing the entire spectrum of traditional canvassing and phone banking to digital and text messaging platforms – this showed in the record number who made it to the polls. No longer can the Black vote be ignored or disrespected or taken for granted.”
The poll focused on six states with competitive elections (CA, FL, GA, TX, NV, and AZ), as well as a national survey of House battleground districts. The poll was based on randomly selected voters across the entire state, or congressional district, giving all voters an equal chance to participate. This election eve poll, which more accurately captures voters of color than exit polls, will demonstrate how black voters shaped the outcome of the 2018 election.