African American Voter Registration, Education, & Participation Project

Increasing African American and urban voter registration, education, and participation through outreach to targeted communities in California. We've registered over 200,000 voters and counting since 2002!

New Poll – California African American Voters Highly Motivated To Vote By Key Policy Priorities And To Keep Trump From Being Elected President



In a new statewide poll of 800 California African American likely voters1, commissioned by the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation (AAVREP) Project, black voters indicate that they are highly motivated to turn out the vote by the prospect of advancing key policy priorities, as well as their desire to elect their preferred candidates in statewide and national electoral races. The poll is one of the only publicly released statewide surveys of African American voters conducted in recent years.

On The Candidates

According to the survey results, Hillary Clinton has a broad lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Presidential Primary contest. Seventy-one percent (71%) of black voters indicate support for Hillary Clinton, compared to Bernie Sanders, who garners 16% of the vote. The remainder say that they are supporting another candidate (3%), undecided (8%), or prefer not to say (2%). However, a sizeable generation gap exists—50% of black Democratic Primary voters under age 40 support Sanders, while only 34% support Clinton. Among voters over 40, Clinton leads 73% to 14%.

Eighty percent (80%) of black voters say they would support Clinton for President in a November 8th Presidential Election contest against Donald Trump. Seven percent (7%) indicate support for Trump, while the remainder say that they would support another candidate (4%) or remain undecided (5%). Four percent (4%) declined to share their choice or stated that they do not plan to vote for President.

In addition, 48% say they are extremely motivated to vote in order to help elect Hillary Clinton as President. Notably, two-thirds (66%) of black voters say they are extremely motivated to vote in order to keep Donald Trump from getting elected President.

The survey also explored general perceptions of other leading political candidates on the June 7th Presidential Primary Election ballot. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is viewed favorably by 53% of black voters. Among those familiar with Harris (60% of voters), 89% hold a favorable view. Among voters overall, 30% view U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez favorably, however, many voters say they are unfamiliar with her or do not know enough about her to offer an opinion (58%).

November Ballot Measures

Proposed Education Bond and Gun Control Ballot Measures Strongly Supported. Just over three- quarters (76%) of black voters are inclined to vote “yes” on a proposed “Safety for All” gun control initiative sponsored by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom that would outlaw large-capacity bullet magazines and require background checks for ammunition purchases. In addition, nearly four-in-five say they would support a proposed $9 billion bond measure to fund improvement and new construction for K-12 schools and community colleges.

Marijuana Ballot Measure Favored By A Small Margin. A proposed statewide ballot measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana is favored by 52% of California black voters, while 44% are opposed to the initiative. Among voters under 40, sixty percent (60%) are in favor, while 35% are opposed and 5% are undecided. Among voters over age 40, fifty-one percent (51%) are in favor, 45% are opposed, and 4% are undecided.

On The Issues

The poll reveals that homelessness emerges as a top policy priority and statewide concern for African American voters. Ninety-three percent (93%) identify it as a high priority for elected officials to address, and 88% identify homelessness as a highly serious problem in their region of the state.

In addition, 93% indicate that holding law enforcement agencies accountable for excessive use of force, police violence, and police brutality is a high priority for elected officials to address, including 66% who identify it as an extremely high priority. On a related note, 72% view the Black Lives Matter movement favorably. BLM has played a prominent role in focusing national attention on the importance of law enforcement accountability, heightening awareness and affirming the value of black lives. More generally, 90% of African American voters indicate that reforming the criminal justice system and eliminating racial profiling are both high priorities.

Improving public education was rated as a high priority by 96% of black voters, including 65% who identify it as an extremely high priority. Voters surveyed identify other high priorities, including improving access to quality health care (95%), expanding access to mental health services (92%), and affordable housing (94%).

1-The survey was conducted by EVITARUS, INC., Los Angeles-based public opinion research and strategic consulting firm from May 5-17, 2016. The survey included a base sample of 600 black voters likely to cast ballots in the June 2016 Presidential Primary Election and an oversample of 200 lower propensity voters who are more likely to only participate in the November 2016 General Election. The margin of sampling error for the full survey sample is ±3.5% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for the sample of likely June Primary voters is ±4.0%. The margin of error for other subgroups within the sample will be higher. View Topline Results and Key Findings.