Black and Hispanic voters are deserting the Democratic party in numbers that will present a concern for Joe Biden’s re-election effort, a poll has found.
Among Black Americans expressing a party preference, the Democratic lead over Republicans has dropped by almost 20% in only three years, according to the Gallup survey.
The Democratic lead among Hispanic adults and adults aged 18 to 29, meanwhile, also slid by almost the same degree, leaving the party with only a modest advantage.
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Both groups, but especially Black voters, were key ingredients of the alliance that gave Biden a more than 7m-vote advantage over Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
The loss is only partially offset by modest gains among college-educated Americans, both with or without college degrees, Gallup found.
“These shifts in the party affiliation of key subgroups provide the demographic backstory for how Democrats went from enjoying significant leads over Republicans between 2012 and 2021, to slight deficits in 2022 and 2023,” the research company said in a statement accompanying the survey.
“The 27% of US adults identifying as Democrats and the 43% identifying as or leaning Democratic are both new lows in Gallup’s trend.”
The drop in support of non-Hispanic Black voters will perhaps be most alarming for the Biden re-election campaign. In 2020, the Democratic party held a 77-11 percentage point advantage over Republicans in that demographic, which has sunk to a 66-19 lead.
Similarly, there is only a 12-point gap, 47-35, in Hispanic adults supporting Democrats, compared with a 31-point lead in 2021, and a 36-point margin in 2016.
Biden has acknowledged that his support from Black voters has fallen, and he embarked on a messaging offensive last month trying to win them back, beginning with a campaign appearance at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a 2015 racist massacre.
The president urged the Democratic National Committee to put South Carolina first on the party’s primary calendar to reflect the importance of Black voters. Despite low turnout, Biden won the 3 February primary easily.