Detroit Poll Finds Barely Half of Black Michigan Voters Supporting Biden

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Joe Biden has recently appeared to focus many of his policy decisions involving everything from marijuana policy to the war in Gaza based on how he believes it might help him with voters in Michigan, particularly Black voters. But if the results of the latest polling out of the Great Lakes State are anywhere near accurate, Uncle Joe may want to spend a bit more time out among the people and not at glitzy, high-dollar celebrity fundraisers. A USA Today/Suffolk poll reveals that barely half of Black Michigan likely voters (54%) support Joe Biden currently. That doesn't automatically translate into huge gains for Donald Trump in this demographic because he was the first choice for 15% of Black respondents. But he is still registering gains while Joe Biden is undeniably losing traction. (Newsweek)

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While fewer Black voters in two critical swing states plan to vote for President Joe Biden compared to 2020, former President Donald Trump has seen his support among Black voters jump into the double digits surpassing his 2020 influence, a poll published on Sunday shows.

"Biden is still the first or second choice of the vast majority, while most would avoid Trump," a USA Today/Suffolk University phone survey of 500 registered Black voters in the swing states of Michigan and Pennsylvania found.

However, the poll conducted between June 9 and 13 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, also shows that the former president is gaining on his previous polling among Black voters in 2020.

When reviewing polls like these, we should always keep in mind that there is a significant difference between approval, support, and eventual voting patterns. Far fewer people may be willing to say that they approve of Biden's job performance thus far or label themselves as his "supporters," but that doesn't mean they will automatically vote for Donald Trump by any means. Some of them may hold their nose and vote for Biden anyway, but others could either vote for a third-party option or simply stay home. Neither of those second and third options is good for Joe Biden's chances in Michigan, particularly when it comes to getting out the Black vote. 

No credible political analyst believes that Donald Trump will carry a majority of the Black vote in November. But he doesn't need to. He's already doing five points better with that Demographic in Michigan than he did in 2020 and his numbers are going in the right direction. Conversely, if Biden only turns out 70% or less of the Black vote there with the rest going with some other option (he received 92% in 2020), Michigan is probably unwinnable for him.

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The same poll focused on Black voters in Pennsylvania and the results were similar. Biden's support has softened considerably since 2020 while Donald Trump is registering some modest gains. Similar to the situation in Michigan, Donald Trump doesn't need to pick up all of the Black voters who are not currently supporting Biden. They will have other options. RFK Jr. is expected to make the ballot in the Keystone State, and Cornel West has been active there, so he will be available as a write-in option at a minimum. Pennsylvania was razor close four years ago, and it would take all that many voters migrating elsewhere for it to slip from Biden's grasp this time.

One Suffolk polling analyst broke down the numbers as an easy-to-grasp ratio. For every 2020 Black Biden voter who pulls the lever for Trump, Biden would need to attract an extra 13 Black voters that didn't turn out last time. That's a fairly steep hill to climb. This particular demographic is of interest to election analysts because Pennsylvania and Michigan have the exact same percentage of Black voters in the population (12.4%). That is a significant amount when a race is as close as this one is expected to be. And those voters are currently drifting away from Biden at nearly the same rate in both states. Obviously we are still too far out from November 5 to draw any firm conclusions or make predictions now, but I would wager that Donald Trump's team is seeing signs of life in quite a few states that barely slipped from his grasp four years ago. 

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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