A little more than half of Black voters back Biden in 2 swing states: Poll

A majority of Black voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan say they would vote for President Biden in a hypothetical general election match-up, but a significant share of 2020 Biden voters support third-party candidates or say they are undecided, according to a poll released Sunday.

The USA TODAY/Suffolk University polls, conducted June 9-13, include 500 Black voters in Pennsylvania and 500 Black voters in Michigan — two states seen as critical to winning the presidency in November.

In both states, Biden sees his support decline from 2020. In Pennsylvania, 56.2 percent of surveyed Black voters say they would vote for Biden today, down 20 percentage points from those who say they voted for him in 2020. In Michigan, 54.4 percent of surveyed Black voters say they support Biden, down 22 percentage points from those who say they voted for him in 2020.

Exit polls showed 92 percent of Black voters supported Biden in 2020, but 76 percent of respondents in the new survey told pollsters they voted for Biden in 2020.

Trump’s support ticks up slightly from 2020, with 10.8 percent backing him in Pennsylvania, compared to about 8 percent in 2020, and with 15.2 percent backing him in Michigan, compared to 9 percent in 2020.

In Pennsylvania, asked to choose between six candidates for president, 16.4 percent of respondents support a third-party candidate: 7.6 percent back independent Cornel West, 7.4 percent back independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 1 percent back Green Party candidate Jill Stein and 0.4 percent back Libertarian Chase Oliver.

In Michigan, results are similar. Kennedy gets 8 percent of surveyed Black voters’ support, West gets 6.2 percent, Stein gets 1 percent, and Oliver gets 0.2 percent.

Another 13.8 percent of Black voters in both states say they are undecided.

David Paleologos, who directs Suffolk’s Political Research Center and led the poll, told USA Today that most voters put Biden as either their first or second choice. In Michigan, for example, 54 percent of respondents support Biden, but an additional 45 percent put Biden as their second choice, he said.

In both states, Black voters who back any independent candidate first are more likely to put Biden than Trump as their second pick.

Kennedy voters in Pennsylvania are more likely to pick Biden as their second choice over Trump, by 27 percent to 11 percent. In Michigan, they are more likely to pick Biden over Trump, by a margin of 48 percent to 13 percent.

Paleologos said, according to USA Today, that while there is an opportunity for Biden to pick up some third-party voters, Biden faces a unique challenge of needing to retain such a high level of support from 2020 while having little room to grow support.

“Why would they vote in 2024, if they didn’t in 2020?” Paleologos asked, USA Today reported. “The least-connected, the least involved people matter the most in these swing states.”

The survey comes as both Trump and Biden have ramped up their outreach and messaging toward Black voters, especially Black men, underscoring the political power the demographic will hold in November.

In the recent poll, Trump’s support among Black men is more than double his support among Black women. In Pennsylvania, 16 percent of surveyed Black men support Trump, compared to 6 percent of Black women. In Michigan, 22 percent of Black men support Trump, compared to 9 percent of Black women.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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