Thingish Things

The President’s Numbers, Minus the Black Vote

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Aug• 14•11


43 and 44

President Obama fell below the 40% approval threshold for the first time this weekend, according the latest Gallup Survey, not long after the stock market dipped below the 11,000 mark again. Mr. Obama now enjoys the support of just 39% of Americans; 54% disapprove of his performance, with the rest falling into undecided territory. President George W. Bush, by comparison, bottomed out with a 25% Gallup rating at the end of his presidency.

I often wonder how much President Obama’s unshakable support in the African-American community buoys his overall numbers.  Now seems like a good time to guesstimate it.  African-Americans constitute 12.6%  of the U.S Population according the Census Bureau, and Mr. Obama has a 90% approval rating among Blacks today, according to most polls. President Bush at his popularity nadir had a two percent — 2% — approval rating among Black voters.

Unless my math is screwed up — and it very well may be; I’m not a pollster — Presidents Obama and Bush are now roughly tied in their polling lows with all but African-American voters.  That demographic approximately contributes a 20% swing in the overall poll numbers between the two American leaders. 

The statistic  is immaterial of course. Black voters will stand firmly with President Obama out of understandable cultural pride, so the President’s numbers will never dip to Bush 43 levels.  But it is instructive, I think, to compare the popularity of the two presidents minus that base vote, especially when forecasting the 2012 electoral outcome in states with small numbers of African-American voters.  

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