Poll: Despite Economic Woes, Blacks Say Obama Election Has Helped Them

African-Americans give President Obama an overwhelmingly favorable rating of 91 percent, with 72 percent of them believing his election has helped them despite the severe economic problems experienced in their  communities over the last five years, according to a national Zogby poll commissioned by African-American businessman Robert Johnson.

Johnson’s poll measures the views of the African-American community on a wide range of issues, including, politics, leadership, immigration and the economy. Johnson said one of the primary reasons he commissioned the poll was to see how blacks feel about Obama after so many years of economic hardship.

Johnson has been extremely critical of Obama since his first presidential run in 2008 and during the course of his first term.

“I wanted to create a discussion within the Black community and the broader community to bring to the forefront of public debate key issues of primary concern to African-Americans. I am pleased to say that I am intrigued by the results of the poll and I believe better informed,” Johnson said upon releasing the poll findings last week.

Other findings in the poll include the following:

While 30 percent of respondents say they are better off financially than they were four years ago, about half say they are at least doing the same.

Fifty-three percent of respondents say they believe relations between whites and African-American relations will improve, while 23 percent are pessimistic.

 Asked why the black unemployment rate was double that of whites, respondents gave these reasons: Failure of the education system for minorities/African-Americans (50 percent); lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities/African-Americans (48 percent); and lack of good government policies (25 percent).

Asked whether they had ever felt overlooked or discounted as a candidate for employment because of race, 47 percent said yes, and 39 percent said no.

As for which black leader (aside from President Obama) most often spoke for them, Rev. Al Sharpton was the overwhelming choice, picked by 24 percent — 1 of every 4 respondents. Rev. Jesse Jackson was next at 11 percent, followed by Rep. Maxine Waters of California at 9 percent and Ben Jealous of the NAACP at 8 percent.

As far as immigration goes, 63 percent favor a path to full citizenship within 10 years for Hispanics who are here illegally, while only 16 percent say they should “never” achieve full citizenship. In addition, 51 percent of African-Americans believe that Hispanics “will achieve greater economic growth than African-Americans over the next five years.”

On guns, 67 percent (2 out of 3 polled) favor a ban on assault weapons, while 20 percent oppose such a ban. 

 African-Americans are evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage: 42 percent feel that marriage is exclusively defined as between a man and a woman, while 40 percent would support gay marriages and believe they should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. 

In the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming choice: 46 percent say they would support her for president if the Democratic primary was held today and about 1 in 5 would support Vice President Joe Biden.


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