Polling and Focus Groups: Black Voters

  • Research
  • 5 min read

Below are some top line findings on Black voter plans from polling and focus groups conducted in August 2020.

Black Voters

  • All respondents are extremely dedicated to voting and feel their vote is immensely valuable.
  • Most respondents plan to vote in-person on election day or during early vote. Since the last presidential election, the majority of respondents shared concern their vote might not be counted due to the current administration.
  • Southern voters see voting as a way to honor their ancestors and relatives. They consider going to the polls as a valuable teaching moment for their children, while those in Pennsylvania viewed voting as more of an obligation.

Voting in person for me is more of a personal feeling. Each time I’m there, it makes me remember the ancestors before me. What my grandparents went through. It makes me remember the stories that my mother’s father would tell us in the ‘50s and the ‘60s.

Erica, 44
North Carolina

Black Voters in Pennsylvania

  • Respondents feel their vote is valuable despite having minimal trust in the voting system, over concerns the current presidential administration will try to interfere with the election.
  • All but one respondent plans on voting in person, as in-person voting is considered much more secure than mail-in voting. While the group considered mail-in voting to be the easiest mode of voting, they don’t want to risk their vote being tossed out.

Voters enjoy speaking with friends to learn more about candidates and ballot measures, as well as attending town halls and political debates.

Black Voters in North Carolina

  • While both focus groups expressed cynicism over the U.S. voting system, the second group had no trust in the system whatsoever since the last presidential election and feared the possibility of foreign interference in the general election from Russia or China. However, most respondents felt confident their vote will be counted despite concerns over the system’s reliability.
  • Participants feel their vote is very valuable but more so in local elections versus federal or presidential elections.
  • Most voters are planning to vote in-person on election day due to a lack of trust in the mail-in ballot system.

Respondents like to learn about candidates and ballot measures by doing their own online research, print newspapers, debates and town halls.

Black Voters in Georgia

  • The first group had very little trust in the voting system as they believe there is corruption in the system based on what they’re seeing in the news.
  • The second group had much more trust in the system though they remained skeptical as to how it operates. Both groups feel their vote is extremely valuable.
  • Neither group felt confident using absentee or mail-in ballots, although some believed they were more likely to be counted in local elections.
  • The second group felt more confident their votes will be counted now that the Black Lives Matter movement has grown and the country has  better understanding of the voter suppression that takes place in the U.S.

Georgia-Specific Takeaways

There are about 2.1 million eligible Black voters in Georgia. Our research shows less than a quarter of Black voters are planning or willing to vote by mail which is a call to action: Support BIPOC voter plans with logistical help and PPE.

  1. People who say they will vote by mail are the most likely to say they might change their minds
  2. Black voters are the most likely racial group to say they might change their mind about their planned method of voting.
  3. More than half of Black voters don’t believe their vote will be counted if they vote by mail.
  4. A stunning 79% of Black voters say they are significantly concerned about contracting COVID while voting in person, yet 68% of Black voters say they will vote in person regardless.  

There are unconscionable racial disparities in signature match challenges and the understandable mistrust in Black communities of VBM and the integrity of the voting process. Given this, we are committed to the urgency of calling on campaigns to support voting plans of BIPOC voters and to particularly focus on the urgent need to ensure PPE and logistical support for BIPOC voters who overwhelmingly plan to vote in person.

Black Voter Stimuli Response

  • Respondents found the post to be informative, but were suspicious of its targeting of Black voters.
  • Many felth the ad was more for first time or young voters than seasoned voters.
  • No one liked the color combination, two respondents suggested using black, red and green which are the colors of the Pan-African flag.
  • Some felt the post put undue pressure on Black voters to get out and vote.
  • Voters expressed concerns that a national Black voter day would make it easier to meddle with Black votes.
  • There was some confusion around the dates and many felt the slides were too wordy.  
  • Respondents had trouble reading the crowded text at the bottom.
  • Many voters said they would scroll past this on Instagram.
  • Many preferred another color scheme to red, white & blue.
  • Participants liked that the post pertained to everyone and not just Black voters.
  • Put date and time together.
  • Respondents were confused by the logos.

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