When presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, he may have known he was alienating conservatives and moderates, but he likely didn’t anticipate alienating black voters. According to a groundbreaking poll from Rasmussen Reports, Biden’s VP pick has given black voters second thoughts about supporting the Democratic ticket in November.
The latest Rasmussen poll found that a third of black likely voters said they are “less likely” to vote for Biden after the Harris pick, while a third said they were “more likely” to do so, and another third either said the VP pick will have no impact or their votes or that they weren’t sure what impact it will have.
About a quarter (24 percent) of all likely voters said Biden’s VP pick would make them more likely to vote for the Democrats in November, while another quarter (24 percent) said it will make them less likely to vote for Biden. Half (50 percent) said Harris would make no impact on their vote.
The vast majority of likely Democratic voters (76 percent) said they had a favorable opinion of Harris, with 48 percent calling their opinion of her “very favorable.” Only 18 percent had an unfavorable view.
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While Harris proved polarizing among black voters, black voters (37 percent) proved more likely than white voters (28 percent) to hold a “very favorable” opinion of the senator.
According to a Harry Enten analysis of 10 polls, President Donald Trump is picking up steam among the black community, taking support that once went to third-party candidates in 2016. This shift might translate to about 0.5 percent of the vote nationwide, which does not seem significant — but in a close race, it could make the difference.
Black voters also approve of Biden less than they did of Clinton in 2016.
Trump is likely performing better than Republicans normally do with black voters. The American National Election Studies pre-election polls show that since 1964, the average Democrat has enjoyed 86 percent to the average Republican’s 6 percent. That 80-point margin is wider than Biden’s current 75-point lead.
Some polls have shown Trump’s approval among black voters doubling since 2016. In the recently-released book Coming Home: How Black Americans Will Re-Elect Trump, black former Air Force officer Vernon Robinson and conservative pollster Bruce Eberle predict that Trump could win as much as 20 percent of the black vote in key swing states — as he already did, they argue, in Pennsylvania in 2016.
“Democrats have been telling black voters year after year after year that all Republicans are racist. I would be willing to bet that in those swing states if we point out that the Democrats are really racist, we will win more than 20 percent of the black vote,” Eberle told PJ Media in January. Eberle argued that “Blexit” rallies against Democrats and the historically low unemployment rate for black Americans before the pandemic might represent a growing trend among black voters dissatisfied with Democrats.
When it comes to Harris, in particular, many black voters may remember her tough-on-crime stance as California’s attorney general. During the 2020 Democratic presidential debates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) noted that Harris “blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so, she kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as chief labor for the State of California.”
“When you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not,” Gabbard added.
Harris attempted to run away from this record in the primary, indulging in shameful pandering.
Black voters may also remember that Kamala Harris repeatedly attacked Biden, suggesting he was racist.
Harris attacked Biden for having worked with segregationist senators — and members of his own Democratic Party. “Let’s be very clear. The senators that he is speaking of with such adoration are individuals who made and built their reputation on segregation. The Ku Klux Klan celebrated the election of one of them,” she noted. Yet Biden had not endorsed these senators but rather mentioned his ability to work with them despite his deep disagreement with them on an important moral issue.
Similarly, Harris exaggerated her history regarding racially integrated busing in an orchestrated attack on Joe Biden, complete with “That little girl was me” t-shirts for sale after the debate!
Her rush to endorse Biden and her agreement to join his ticket in November seem opportunistic in the extreme.
Kamala Harris is among the slimiest of politicians and her prickly style makes her less likable as well. While Biden may have thought he would bolster his intersectionality credentials by picking the Democrats’ Great Black-Asian Female Hope as his VP, it seems he merely ended up shooting himself in the foot, alienating many of the black voters he intended to win.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.