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April 06, 2006

Dem Report: Michael Steele May Attract 44% Of Black Voters

...once they hear his "messaging." Or, you know, "message," I guess.

Maryland Democratic Party Executive Director Derek B. Walker said the study verified what, internally, party strategists had already concluded: that African American voters who have served as a reliable base for generations cannot be taken for granted.

"It confirms that in this day and age, everyone expects us to do more than just rest on history," Walker said. "We knew we were going to have to engage. But we also know it will be easier for us to forge that relationship because we're right on the issues."

If the findings of the poll are correct, they paint a somewhat different vision of the black electorate from what has been commonly understood to this point, said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Bositis said nothing in his research suggests that an African American Republican will be able to grab a significant segment of the black vote.

The DNC survey finds that 22 percent of black voters support Steele when matched against a "generic" Democrat.

"There's just no way it's that high," Bositis said, noting that Steele's performance among black voters in the 2002 election did not approach that number. "If he was that much of a draw then it's doubtful he would only have received 13 percent of the black vote."

There are other aspects of the survey, though, that Bositis says are consistent with national findings. Among them: that young black men represent a voting bloc far less loyal to Democrats. It also finds more support for Steele in Baltimore than in Prince George's County, more backing among churchgoers, and stronger support among those without a college degree.

In an interview in his State House office yesterday, Steele clutched the DNC report like a football coach who just got his hands on the opposing team's playbook. He said a copy "landed on our doorstep" in the past week.

"This explains everything," he said. "They're afraid of what I represent. They're afraid of the fact that African American voters have options, and I'm one of them."

Is it racist that some blacks will only vote for a Republican if that Republican is black? Certainly it would be racist if whites would only vote for whites. Why the double standard?

That aside, this is mildy good news, though I agree the poll probably greatly overstates Steele's appeal among black voters. I'm guessing it's intended as a bit of a shock-document to encourage more Democratic spending in the race, and more Democratic attacks on Steele.


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posted by Ace at 11:17 AM

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