Why do black folks vote for Democrats?

Ok, so yeah. The African American community votes pretty solidly for Democratic candidates — this we know. The Washington Post decided to poll folks, asking why they think this might be so.

Hereunder the results of that poll (but note first that an accompanying article stated that the most common answer, from either side of the aisle, was “I don’t know,”  and that the numbers listed aren’t percentages but raw counts, from a poll done of 1,020 adult respondents, using both cell and land lines):


So, yeah. Even taking all the caveats into consideration, I still think the results are pretty striking: The vast majority of Republicans polled who think they know why blacks vote for the other party think it’s because African-Americans either: take/want government hand-outs; have been socialized into being Democrats; or are just plain ignorant.

It’s a wonder the GOP hasn’t won over more people of color. An absolute mystery.



  1. The Republicans do not understand the simple fact: they have spent decades disenfranchising blacks. If more blacks than not have ended up on the government dole, perhaps that has had a lot to do with policies put forth by Republicans meant to push blacks out of contention for better education and better jobs. They don’t want to be there, but the GOP has been doing nothing to help them up. In a way, it’s a self-fulfilling campaign issue.

    I was listening to Brian Lehrer’s broadcast yesterday evening on my way home; he has been polling people on various topics revolving around the convention and politics, mainly in swing states. Last night, he asked: What voting block do you consider yourself a part of? He had Republicans, Democrats, and Independents call in separately. To a T, every Republican said they don’t consider themselves part of a voting block, but vote “as Americans.” The last Republican caller wondered why we had to break everything into these categories.

    They then played a clip (the speaker’s name escapes me), bemoaning the fact that the Democrats run a “divisive” campaign, with groups like “Women for Obama,” “Gays for Obama,” etc., and claiming the Republicans were above that. It struck me as the telling. They honestly do not realize that the reason so many of these people for these groups, and why these groups gravitate toward the Democrats, is that they, the Republican Party, have spent decades ignoring their pleas for equality and dismissing their problems with bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and the like. By adopting their “our way — the ‘American’ way — or the highway” attitude, they do nothing to attract anyone but already die-hard, committed conservatives to their cause, and they are — predominantly — older and white.

    If anyone is confused as to how GOP views race, one only has to point to Mitt Romney’s speech before the NAACP. It was clear that he went into it with one goal: to read them the “riot act” and reap the benefits of their outrage with the Republican base. He was not there to be sincere. He was not there to address the basic issues which cause so many blacks to require the governments help. He offered no solutions to try and stem the tide of inequity. He went there to collect white votes.

    • They honestly do not realize

      This is the thing that gets me again and again. There’s a kind of collective ear-plugging that perpetuates itself and serves no one, least of all (ultimately) their own party. I don’t think it’s an excuse — at the end of the day, ignorance that is willed is, you know: Willed — but it does explain a lot.

    • stephen matlock

       /  August 30, 2012

      It’s head-to-desk–smacking.

      “Why don’t you vote for us, you lazy freeloaders who skive off hardworking decent white people?”

      Yeah. It just escapes me.

      • baiskeli

         /  August 31, 2012

        Yup, this is exactly it.

        • stephen matlock

           /  September 4, 2012

          So I’m reading “A Country of Strangers,” which is 15 years old, but it has some great moments. One of them is how the Southerns would be ugly and vociferous when en masse they opposed black Americans en masse, but in ordinary 1-on-1 relationships they were much less antagonistic, kind even.

          Now, I don’t mistake this as somehow Southerns were kind to their black fellow citizens, because they were not, but I think there is a level of civility that keeps things cool that disappears when we have moral support to be true to ourselves.

          People who are ordinarily kind and inoffensive say and do things when they’re in a position where they feel support.

          My opinion is that Mr. Romney went to the NAACP with the full support behind his back of his white friends and supporters, and with the knowledge in his head that those people in the NAACP are only about taking, and there wasn’t going to be any insight or communication. It was speechifyin’ and testifyin’ for him.

          I think he’s trapped in his way of thinking. Patriarchal, avuncular, prestigious, powerful, secure, privileged. I don’t think there is a single thing that could be done to shake him from his place of certainty. He will go to the end of his days calmly assured of his viewpoint.

          Which is too bad, because–well, because he is going to miss such wonderful aspects of life. It’s like he (Mitt) wants less from life as long as he stays safe.

  2. efgoldman

     /  August 30, 2012

    The GOBP view is insulting in so very many ways, but the worst is the open assumption of 88% of GOBP respondents that black=poverty/welfare/ignorant/moochers.
    Well, gee republicans, you think so highly of your black brothers and sisters, of course they’d want to support you.
    F*ckin’ idiots.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  September 1, 2012

      The poll rather clearly says that it is reporting raw tallies, not percentages.

      Unhelpfully, the poll does not indicate how many respondents identified as Republican. Out of a full pool of 1020, eighty-odd respondents would be 8-9%. If Republicans were 1/3 of the collected sample, eighty-odd respondents would be 25% of responding Republicans. If Republicans comprised nearly half the sample, eighty-odd respondents would be 17% of responding Republicans.

      One can persuasively and passionately argue that 1% is too much (for which Independents have a lot to answer), let alone 25%. But misrepresenting something in the 17-25% range as 88%, when the poll explicitly clarifies otherwise, isn’t productive.

  3. baiskeli

     /  August 30, 2012

    This is my surprised face 😐 <- (Imagine David Duchovny or Keanu Reeves face here).

    Mitt Romney said as much in regards to his NAACP speech

    you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy

    And there is a very deep connection in the Republican mind between being black and being on Welfare or somehow being undeserving (i.e. asking President Obama for his grades etc). I think every black person, no matter their socio-economic status, has run into this in form or another (in sometimes hilarious and at the same time deeply disturbing ways).

    • Like the business of Ann Romney saying that Latinos should “get past some of their biases” — how does talking down to people endear you to them, exactly? http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/ann-romney-switches-focus-from-wooing-women-to-hispanic-voters/

      • They don’t see it as “talking down” to other groups; they see it as laying out “the rules.”

        Ann Romney was basically saying: “Let go of your individual notions of what is right and what is wrong for you, hitch yourself to our wagon, and let us lead you in the right direction.”

        They don’t see it — or hear it — because they live within this soft bubble of “American-ness” that is rigidly defined, though in a manner totally contrary to the reality of Constitutional law and Federal government as laid down by the Founders. They’ve constructed their narrative — as any group does that believes they know what’s best for everyone — to ensure easy inclusion of anyone willing to be subsumed by it, and complete and utter dismissal of anyone who does not see the “truth” in their statements. It’s kinda cultish.

      • baiskeli

         /  August 31, 2012


        The GOP Convention (and by and large the GOP Campaign), has been like a Manual on How to make it very clear to minorities that they shouldn’t vote for you.

  4. wearyvoter

     /  August 31, 2012

    It’s their riff on Rudyard Kipling and taking up the white man’s burden, as it were.