African Americans usually vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, but that doesn't mean they are always in line with Democratic state issues. Findings from a recent poll of 1,200 African American voters conducted by Evitarus, a public opinion research firm released new data that shares insight into black voters in California.
The California African American Policy Priorities Survey (CAPPS) poll was commissioned by the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation (AAVREP) Project. The group's mission is to increase African American and urban voter registration, education, and civic participation.
The survey questioned people via cell phone, landline, and the Internet. However, 82 percent of the responders completed their answers online.
According to the survey, 65 percent of African Americans are in favor of Proposition 10, a measure that supports affordable housing. However, almost a third of black voters were in favor of repealing the gas tax. This law was passed by Gov. Jerry Brown and opposed by Republicans. Republicans also support Proposition 6, which would repeal the gas tax.
In the gubernatorial race, African Americans favored Democrat Deputy Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom has made affordable housing one of the central issues of his campaign.
"We're experiencing a housing affordability crisis, driven by a simple economic argument," said Newsom, according to his campaign website. "California is leading the national recovery, but it's producing far more jobs than homes. Providing adequate housing is fundamental to growing the state's economy."
The survey showed that 34 percent of black voters had a very favorable view of Newsom, while only 5 percent of them had a very favorable view of Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. Cox is in favor of repealing the gas tax. He also says that California's many taxes make the state unaffordable for working families.
"California's sky-high sales taxes, vehicle license fees, and the highest gasoline taxes in the nation are a major reason so many families just can't make ends meet anymore. These high fees are a major reason California now has the highest poverty rate in the nation. The most urgent need right now is to repeal the new vehicle license and gas tax increases," said Cox, according to his campaign website.
According to the poll, African Americans followed a familiar pattern on national issues. The survey showed that about 84 percent of black voters had an unfavorable view of President Donald Trump. This is not surprising since he criticized former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and other players who knelt in protest of police violence. Trump also called African nations "sh*thole countries."
The survey showed that 53 percent of black voters said opposing the Trump administration's agenda was a high priority. African-American voters listed public education, eliminating racial profiling and holding law enforcement agencies accountable and expanding access to mental health as more important issues.
According to Shakari Byerly, managing partner, and lead researcher, the survey findings will prove useful to politicians vying for the African American vote.
"One of the strongest findings from the survey is the high level of support for Proposition 10, which is aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing, by giving cities and counties the authority to expand rent control. Affordable housing is a top priority for black voters, so it is not surprising to see such high levels of support. However, recent research conducted by PPIC suggests that support for the measure is lagging among voters overall," she said.
Byerly also said, "Black voters will likely determine the margin of victory in key ballot measure propositions and congressional campaigns throughout California. It is therefore imperative that we understand the policy priorities and preferences of this important constituency. Candidates and ballot measure campaigns seeking to win this November ignore the black vote at their own peril."