By: David C. Barker & Sam Fulwood III
Most political analysts define “swing voters” as those who swing their support from one party to the other between election cycles — determining winners and losers in the process.
According to this conventional wisdom, the “swingiest” voters are working-class whites in the Midwest, who supposedly hold the keys to the White House.
Meanwhile, by contrast, pundits often portray Black Americans as an undifferentiated mass — loyal Democrat-supporting foot soldiers who will execute their mission for The Team on Tuesday as long as some preacher provides the right marching orders on Sunday.
If these depictions have not already expired, they are certainly growing stale. Having studied electoral trends for decades, we can tell you that those undecided voters of the past are an endangered species — in the Midwest and elsewhere. These days, the only choice that most Americans make — indeed, the choice that typically “swings” the election outcome — is whether to vote at all.
That brings us to the characterization of Black Americans as Democratic loyalists.
Our new survey of 1,215 African Americans in battleground states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia — reveals that while those over 60 remain among the most reliable of Democratic voters, and those between 40-59 are still pretty locked in as well, those under 30 (whom we oversampled to comprise half of our sample) are anything but.
Only 47% of those Black Americans under 30 years old that we surveyed plan to vote for the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. That’s roughly the same percentage who have anything positive to say when asked what “one or two words come to mind” about the former vice president.