Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Race vs. Platform

This has gotten buried in all of today's polling data, we offer this just in case it wasn't pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain:
And while the Republican Party has strongly pushed the candidacies of black Republicans in the coming elections, the survey offers little hope that black GOP candidates hold special appeal for minority voters. More than eight in 10 black likely voters say the race of the candidate makes no difference to them.

“It just depends on their platform,” said Kassandra Williamson-Moore, a black Democrat from Indianapolis. “You can’t just vote strictly by race.”

Prominent black candidates this year include Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio and Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania, GOP Senate candidate Michael Steele in Maryland, and Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., in Tennessee. Republicans Steele, Blackwell and Swann are behind in the polls; Democrat Ford is running about even with his opponent.

Blacks are disproportionately unhappy with Bush; 89 percent of likely voters disapprove, compared with 61 percent of all likely voters.

But blacks’ approval ratings for Congress — disapproval ratings, actually — are roughly similar to those for all likely voters. Some 83 percent of likely black voters disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 75 percent of all likely voters.

. . .

David Bositis, of the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said there’s little variation in congressional approval numbers by race because Congress is so widely viewed as being “in the trash.”

Overall, Bositis said, the Republican courtship of black voters sometimes looks like a case of “one step forward, two steps back.”

“They’re never going to succeed in attracting more African-American support until the party has some level of catastrophic failure and then decides to go back to the drawing board,” he said.

Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate, said voter turnout among blacks tends to be lower than among adults in general, but in 2004 they, like Americans overall, turned out in higher numbers.

He said voter discontent could boost turnout similarly this time, adding that: “The group that is the most uniformly anti-Republican at this time is African-Americans.”

Two-thirds of black registered voters say they are following news about the campaign, compared with 71 percent of all registered voters doing likewise.


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