On Monday, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that specializes in black public opinion, released its latest poll. Some stats:
The presidential election: 84% black Americans prefer Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president, who was chosen by 6% of respondents. The other 10% did not know or would not say. Senator Obama dominates all subgroups of black voters except black Republicans, who favor Sen. McCain 74% to 19%. However, black Republicans were such a small portion of the sample that this statistic is considered statistically unreliable.
Priority issues: The economy is Black America's top concern—with 62% naming it the most important national problem. The war in Iraq and healthcare (7% each) were the next issues most frequently mentioned. The order of most important issues corresponded to the Joint Center's 2004 poll. However, the economy's dominance as a focus of concern is double from 2004 (31%).
The country's direction: 88% of black respondents said that things in America "have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track". Less than one-in-fourteen African Americans thinks USA is going in the right direction.
Ideological identification: JCPES didn't highlight this one, but I calculated it using their sample size and plugging in the numbers that the poll listed of people's self-identifying ideology. 43.6% of respondents self-identified as liberal, 24.4% as moderate, and 31.3% as conservative (the other .7% must not have answered the question). Among those who identified as conservative, 78.3% self-identify as Christian conservative and 21.7% as secular conservative.
There has been an increase of self-identified liberals and conservatives from the 2004 poll, and a contraction in self-identifed moderates. Given that only 4% of the entire sample identified as Republican, it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file, self-identified black conservatives remain Democrats or independent and not Republican.
Party identification: 73% self-identify as Democrats, up from 63% in 2004. Black Republicans in the survey declined to 4%, down from 10% four years ago. Black independents also declined, from 23% to 19%, over the same period.
A couple of surprises: Despite the brouhaha during the primary election, the Clintons remain very popular. Sen. Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by 86.4% of blacks and unfavorably by only 7.8%. These ratings are even more favorable than she got in the 2004 poll. Former President Bill Clinton is also warmly regarded, with 85.5% viewing him favorably and only 9.2% unfavorably. His favorability rating is down from its peak in 2000, but better than his rating in 2002. In fact, both Clintons have a slightly higher favorability rating than does Michelle Obama (82.6%).
Among blacks, 46.9% view Secretary Condoleezza Rice favorably, while 31.4% view her unfavorably. Her figures are up from the 2004 poll, when she was National Security Adviser, and are by far higher than other Bush administration officials.