Nearly one-fifth of the respondents, 17%, said they would vote for former President Donald Trump over Biden, while 20% said they would vote for a third-party candidate instead of the two front-runners if the election was held today. The numbers reveal a substantial decrease in support for the president in a crucial Democratic voting block. Black voters in the past largely have leaned more Democratic.
The numbers come from a digital survey by GenForward, which polled 3,448 eligible voters from Nov. 8-30 in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The survey was released Tuesday. The margin of error in the poll was plus or minus 3%.
Although the decrease in support for Biden among black voters is surprising, Cathy Cohen, the founder and director of the GenForward project, said what should be even more alarming is the number of black and Latino respondents who said they would not vote in the election if it were held today. One-fifth of both Latino and black respondents said they would not vote.
“For younger people, it is the threat of a third-party candidate or staying at home,” that should concern Democrats, Cohen told Politico.
Cohen said the poll also showed a notable increase in support for Trump in the black community. Trump only received approximately 8% of the black vote in 2020. Cohen said there are aspects of Trump that are appealing to black men, but a higher percentage of black women still support Biden.
“It is possible, and we’ve seen it before, that a higher number, in particular Black men because of a kind of hypermasculinity of Donald Trump, could vote for Trump [again],” Cohen said.
Critics of the new survey claim that polls this far out are not predictive of how the election will go next year. In 2011, polls indicated former President Barack Obama would lose to future Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
“Polling numbers at this point are not predictive of the future,” Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher said. “If Joe Biden fails, it’s not going to be because black people voted for Donald Trump.”
Belcher added that the survey does give a sense that voters are fed up with both political parties, which could lead to an increase in third-party voting. An uptick in third-party voting during the 2016 presidential election contributed to Trump’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton.