Sat. May 18th, 2024

A generational divide splits Black voters ahead of Biden-Trump rematch

By 37ci3 May8,2024

One of the more noticeable voting shifts between the last presidential campaign and this one is among black voters.

Although they are largely in line with President Joe Biden, his support level is lower than in 2020. And Donald Trump’s black support often exceeds that of any Republican candidate in modern times.

The findings have drawn understandable skepticism, fueled by red herring polls in past campaigns that have suggested surprising levels of Black GOP support that failed to materialize on Election Day. During the 1964 presidential race, no Republican presidential candidate exceeded 12% black support in exit polls, and most did not reach double digits.

But if you average the results of every high-quality independent poll since April 1, here’s how black voters fared over the same period in 2020:

It is important to note that the sample size of Black voters is generally low, given that in most individual polls, Black voters make up just over 10% of the electorate. This means a significant margin of error in any survey. However, multiple polling averages show a change from four years ago.

And this change is generational. The age distribution of black voters is available from several recent polls; each shows a striking difference between young and old Black voters:

Still, these reflect relatively small sample sizes, although the NBC News and CNN numbers are from “pooled data” — data sets that combine subsamples of Black voters from two national surveys each organization sponsored this year, doubling the sample of Black voters. The age distributions here are consistent and surprising.

In addition, a The Washington Post/Ipsos poll was released this week (but conducted a month ago) only looked at Black voters with a pool of over 1,000 and a smaller error rate. Unfortunately, the poll didn’t measure the Biden/Trump race directly. But respondents were asked to rate how likely they were to support each of five potential candidates: 74% said Biden, 14% Trump, 20% Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 14% Jill Stein and 9% Cornel West.

These numbers add up to more than 100% because many respondents chose multiple candidates, making it difficult to place the results in context with other surveys. But here too, the age difference is obvious:

What is clear and consistent across polls is that younger black voters are more disillusioned with Biden and more open to Trump and third-party alternatives, while older black voters are more supportive of Biden and more resistant to other options. If Trump can turn that into a historically high level of Black support and deny Biden the advantages long held by Democrats, it could win him the election.

But that’s a big “if”. The same polls also show that younger Black voters wary of Biden are less likely than their older counterparts to turn out in November. In our NBC News poll, only 43% of black respondents under 50 rated their level of interest in the election as a “9” or “10” on a scale of 1-10; Among those over 50, 77% did.

If this generational divide that emerged in November is overwhelmingly pro-Biden, we can view the current poll as another red herring.

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By 37ci3

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