In March 2021, shortly after he took office, Biden's support among black Protestants stood at 92%. By January 2022, this was down to 65%, a drop of 27 points. (See report from Pew Research)
Over the same period, overall national approval for the president, per Gallup, was down from 54% to 40% – 14 points. About half the drop among black Protestants.
Other polls among all black voters tell the same story. An NBC poll shows black approval for Biden dropping from 83% last April to 64% now. A Quinnipiac University poll shows black approval during Biden's first year in office dropping from 78% to 57%.
What's going on? Should Democratic strategists be worried that a sea-change is occurring among voters on whom they could always most depend?
Trying to define some new grand reality is always a dangerous game in political analysis.
But what we can do is note two major areas of great concern to black Americans where they have reason to be dissatisfied with the leadership they see in Washington.
One is inflation.
The president and his Federal Reserve chairman bear responsibility for the new round of inflation now rearing its head and disrupting American lives.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted in an editorial that the now 7.5% annualized increase in the price level is the worst in 40 years. During January "some 73% of the items saw annual price rises of 3% or higher" and "some 55% of items saw inflation of 5% or higher."
A Gallup poll in December showed that 71% of households earning $40,000 per year or less reported hardship as result of price increases; 28% reported "severe hardship"; and 42% reported "moderate hardship."
These are households that are disproportionately black households. According to Statistica, whereas 37% of all American households earn $50,000 or less, 55% of black households are in this income category.
The Wall Street Journal calls this new round of inflation the result of a "historic policy failure" at the White House and the Federal Reserve.
But also, prominent Democratic Party economists and businessmen are calling out this administration.
Wall Street businessman Steven Rattner, who was counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, wrote a piece recently in The New York Times titled "Biden Keeps Blaming the Supply Chain for Inflation. That's Dishonest."
Rattner calls on the president to set a priority for reducing spending and the deficit, the complete opposite direction in which they have taken things, despite many warnings.
The terrible irony is that a major rationale for all the spending was to allegedly help the very low-income Americans who are now being hurt.
The other issue is COVID-19.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after adjusting for age differences, the incidence of hospitalization due to COVID-19 has been almost three times higher among black than white Americans. And the incidence of death almost twice as high.
A new Gallup survey shows 69% of black Americans reporting being "very stressed" or "somewhat stressed" because of threat of COVID-19 infection, compared with 57% of white Americans.
Morning Consult reported that in the three weeks following Biden's announcement of federal rules mandating vaccines, black approval for Biden's handling of the crisis dropped nine points from 70% to 61%. Among unvaccinated blacks, Biden's net approval – approve less disapprove – dropped 17 points.
One might say that the Biden administration has been operating in a fashion detached from the very real and challenging realities – day-to-day life and the cost of living, and health concerns during a terrible pandemic – with which black Americans have been struggling.
Good reason to believe this is what is causing Biden's approval ratings with blacks to plummet.
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