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Joe Biden Holds Huge Lead in New National Poll of Black Voters, 27% Say ‘Important’ to Have Black Running Mate

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Former Vice President Joe Biden holds an immense lead in a new national poll of black voters — more than doubling his nearest competitor, Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — and more than one in four say it is “important” that a white candidate choose a black running mate.

The Washington Post had a novel idea for how to find out what black voters think about the 2020 presidential race: ask the. The result is a newly-released national poll of black adults that sheds light on the voters who aren’t constantly being interviewed at Pennsylvania diners.

The topline result is not super-surprising: Joe Biden leads the field with 48 percent, more than doubling Sanders’ 20 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in a distant third with nine percent. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is in fourth place nationally, is in seventh place with black voters at two percent.

Another piece of important political news in this poll is that 27 percent of black voters say it is either very or fairly important that a white nominee choose a black running mate, with 35 percent saying it’s “not so important” and 35 percent saying it’s “not at all important” to have a black VP on the ticket. These results could have major implications on black voter turnout, depending on the eventual ticket.

Biden performed better than his opponents on a series of attributes, scoring highest — 53 percent — at having the best chance to beat President Donald Trump, but by closer margins, black voters said Biden had the best “character,” would most be able to unite the country, would best handle issues that are important to black Americans, and is closest to them on the issues. Likelihood of defeating Trump was by far the most important attribute to respondents, at 57 percent.

It wasn’t all bad news for the rest of the field, though. Senator Sanders beat Biden among younger black voters ages 18-34, 42 percent to 30 percent. But Biden clobbers the field in every other age group.

There is also some support in this poll for the idea, repeated by Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Anthony Brown this week, that Mayor Pete’s problem with black voters is that they’re not “familiar” enough with him.

Buttigieg has some very vocal critics who peg Buttigieg’s low support with black voters to his record and his policies, and while he only garnered two percent in this poll, his approval numbers support Rep. Brown’s premise. Mayor Pete has a net positive rating of 26 percent favorable and 18 percent unfavorable, but 55 percent of black voters either have heard of him and have no opinion, or haven’t heard of him and have no opinion.

Biden leads in net favorability at 66 percent favorable to 13 percent unfavorable, but Warren (51% favorable to 12% unfavorable) and Sanders (63% favorable to 15% unfavorable) are also viewed very favorably in the poll.

The most recent Des Moines Register poll of mostly-white Iowa has dominated political coverage since its release Friday. It will be interesting to see what kind of play this poll — a rare survey that focuses only on black voter support — gets the same or similar play.

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