Black men shift slightly toward Trump in record numbers, polls show


Support for the Democratic presidential candidate reached a new low among Black men this year, according to the NBC News poll of early and Election Day voters.

Eighty percent of Black men supported Joe Biden, down slightly from Hilary Clinton’s 82 percent in 2016 but significantly down from Barack Obama’s level of support among Black men in 2012 and 2008.

In Obama’s first presidential campaign, 95 percent of Black male voters and 96 percent of Black women chose him. Four years later, support from Black women remained at 96 percent for Obama’s 2012 re-election, while the figure for Black men slid to 87 percent.

In 2016, when the nominee was Hillary Clinton, Black men dropped further to 82 percent while Black women’s support for Clinton remained high at 94 percent. Biden came close to matching that this year, garnering the support of 91 percent of Black women.

Support for the Democratic presidential candidate in general appears to be slipping among Black women as well, but to a much smaller degree. Biden still enjoyed the support of more than 9 out of every 10 Black female voters.

There were a few groups that appear to have driven this shift toward President Donald Trump among Black men. Over half of Black men (52 percent) who identified as ideologically conservative cast their vote for the president, and 1 in 3 Black men living in the Midwest also voted for him.

There was an unusual relationship between education and how Black men voted this year. About 26 percent of Black men who had a high school diploma or less supported Trump. But 22 percent of Black men with bachelor’s degrees and 20 percent of Black men with advanced degrees also supported him. Black men with some college education broke for Biden at levels comparable to those of Black women.

The shifts follow a busy campaign push by both candidates to capture Black voters’ support. Biden campaigned in Philadelphia over the weekend and attended “souls to the polls” events among Black faith communities. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, who would be the first Black and first female vice president if elected, urged Black voters in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs to “honor the ancestors” by heading to the polls and voting for the Democrats. In any case, a path to victory for the Democrats has routinely required strong showings in cities with heavy Black populations, like Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Trump has stumped for Black support this election season, gaining endorsements from rappers like Lil Wayne and partnering with entertainer Ice Cube to create an investment plan for Black America dubbed the Platinum Plan.