Ever since Obama’s second reelection in 2012, Black Americans have been slowly drifting away from Democrats due to the party’s abandonment of the working class. That process has rapidly accelerated under the Biden Administration, and Democrats are now sounding the alarm bells about a loss of African American support for Biden.
Michigan – where Biden won 92% of Black voters in 2020 – is at the center of this shift. Polling shows warning signs of the state flipping back to the GOP with the help of economically frustrated Black voters who are on the brink of abandoning Biden.
With a sputtering economy, wage-crushing inflation, an affordable housing crisis, and a porous border, Biden’s numbers have crashed significantly since 2020, and his loss of support from Black voters is a key factor. Michigan-specific polling shows Biden could lose as much as twenty percentage points or more of support from the Black community compared to 2020.
Outside polling reveals that younger Blacks are particularly critical of Biden’s handling of the economy, and much less receptive to the Democratic Party’s claims to be an advocate for the working class.
Nationally, Biden has lost around twenty-five percentage-points with Black voters compared to 2020. A January poll from Suffolk University found that just 63% of Black Americans plan to vote for Biden this election – a twenty-four percentage point decline compared to 2020, when Biden won Black voters 87% to 13%.
Looking specifically at Michigan, the New York Times found only 69% of Black voters plan to support Biden, a twenty-three percentage point drop compared to 2020 when Biden won 92% of their vote. Trump is shown earning 17% of Black Michigan voters, after winning a mere 7% in 2020, indicating a ten-percentage-point shift is within reach for Trump.
These numbers have top strategists in Michigan sounding the alarm bells. Democratic strategist Adrian Hemond warned Democrats last December in a Wall Street Journal statement that Biden is in trouble in the state.
“The level of concern is growing, and it should be,” Hemond told the Wall Street Journal. “The problem is not policy. The problem is the man.”
The latest Detroit News poll from Michigan shows Trump ahead of Biden by eight percentage points after losing the state to Biden by 2.78% in 2020.
The poll also found that just 17% of Michigan voters say Biden deserves another term compared to 33% who say Trump deserves another chance. According to Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group which conducted the poll, this number is a record low for any major political in modern times.
“If I were a Democrat in Michigan, I would be breaking the emergency fire alarms in the White House and demanding to know what the plan is for Michigan,” Czuba told Detroit News. “Because these numbers are very bad for any incumbent of any party.”
Biden’s support across a range of metrics has crumpled in Michigan, with just 29% of Michigan voters having a favorable view of his job as president compared to 58% who hold an unfavorable view according to the Detroit News poll.
Economic issues and immigration are the glaring issues at the center of Biden’s dwindling support, with the largest share of Michigan voters (16%) saying jobs and the economy is their number one issue, followed by immigration (9%) and inflation (7%).
Polling from the American Enterprise Institute’s survey for American life in September found that younger Black voters are particularly critical of Biden’s handling of the economy, and much less likely than older Blacks to believe the Democratic Party’s claim to watch out for the working class.
That survey found there is a twenty-percentage point difference between the share of older Blacks and younger blacks who approve of Biden, with 78% of older Blacks compared to just 58% of younger Blacks saying they approve of the president.
The poll also found only 36% of younger Blacks compared to 72% of older Blacks believe Biden has accomplished “a great deal of good” – a thirty-six percentage-point difference.
Younger Blacks (61%) are also nearly twenty points less likely than older Blacks (80%) to say the Democratic Party looks out for the working class.
Biden faces an uphill battle in Michigan, and his poor standing among the Black community is a key factor that cannot be ignored. If Biden is unable to turn these numbers around, he risks losing as many as twenty percentage points – or more – of a coalition Democrats have banked on in every modern election to date.
Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.