A recent Gallup Poll (ending March 4th) revealed 88% of African-American voters approve of President Obama's performance in office. Unless something radical causes them to change their minds, one can only assume the 88% will vote for the president in November. That is approximately 34 million people, which doesn't sound too bad on the surface, but in reality he'll likely get less than half of that. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 16.1 million Blacks voted in 2008, which means he can expect a comparable number in the Fall. Such a number is still respectable, but he'll need a lot more to win reelection. Nonetheless, the president considers African-Americans his base and carefully cultivates their support, not just on his campaign site, "African Americans for Obama", but also in a controversial video on YOUTUBE where he attempts to rally Blacks to his support. Critics claim the video is racist in that a white candidate would be chastised and berated for making a similar video specifically aimed at whites, but that is another story.
Although Obama has general approval in the African-American community, it is far from unanimous. Blacks are becoming more vocal in their displeasure with the president, particularly from two disparate groups, one with leanings to the left and the other to the right. The first group includes blacks who feel the president failed to deliver on his campaign promises for social reform and, instead, has sold out to the Washington establishment. This includes groups like the New Black Panther Party and the Black is Back coalition who feel betrayed and taken for granted by the president. The other group opposing the president are those with allegiances to the GOP, such as the National Black Republican Association. They too have a problem with the president's social reforms, not that he has done too little but that he has gone too far, particularly with the stimulus packages, Obamacare, and excessive government spending. They have even gone so far as to formally accuse the president and the Democratic party of racism (see National Black Republican Association E-News).
Both groups are disturbed by the high unemployment rate for Blacks, particularly among those in their teens, but they disagree on how to solve the problem. Nonetheless the idea that all of Black America embraces the president is a myth. Some question his integrity and see him as simply the product of a white mother and black father, with no true connection to slavery and the Civil Rights movement, thereby questioning how well he truly understands Black Americans.
Regardless of the trivial issues of the day, if the economy does not turn around, and if blacks cannot find employment, look for the president's support among African-American voters to further erode. And if he loses his base, he will likely lose the support of other Democratic loyalists, and the election.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
For Tim's columns, see: timbryce.com
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