African-American Voters Express Opinions About US Presidential Election

    Chris Simkins
    Barack Obama won 95 percent of the African-American vote in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election.  Four years later, Republican Party challenger Mitt Romney is trying to take away African-American support from Obama.

    A solid turnout among African-American voters could lift Barack Obama to a second presidential-election victory, says political-science professor Lorenzo Morris.

    "They will have an impact unless they do not show up [at the polls], meaning their distribution across the [key] states and their influence in 2008 means their role will be critical,  he said.

    Public-opinion surveys suggest the president can again expect strong support among African-American voters like Angela Jenkins.

    "As a person that was unemployed I was able to get health insurance for myself and my son because of his [President Obama's] initiative," Jenkins said.

    Other voters are less enthusiastic about President Obama because of the economic downturn.  Andrew Marshall was out of work for two years.

    "I just recently got back to work about eight months ago, so the progress is very slow at this point and with people its more of a frustration factor where people like figure it should have been done maybe two years ago," Marshall said.

    Despite tough economic times, many black voters we spoke with approve of President Obama's job performance.

    "I think he said he was not going to change everything overnight.  I think a second term he [President Obama] will fulfill more of what he said he was going to do," Franklin said.

    "If you want a president that will make things better in the African-American community you are looking at him," Romney said.

    Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney has appealed to black voters to join his side.  It is proving to be a tough sell.

    "Like me I am on my mother's health insurance, and I feel as though once Romney gets in office it will all be taken away," said one female voter.

    "If Mitt Romney wins the White House, he is going to have to give these young black men and old black men jobs.  I have a [college] degree and it is hard for me to get a job," Smith said.

    Some voters were critical of the Obama administration and disappointed the president has not done more to address concerns in the black community.

    "We have had an emphasis on the Latino population, we have had an emphasis on the gay population, but when it comes to African Americans I do not see an initiative that was put in place to propel our issues," Wright said.

    "All the times that an incumbent [candidate] will run you usually have to run on your record and his [President Obama's] record is not good in my eyes but you know I am just one person," Allen said.

    Despite a few reservations, political analyst David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies predicts a vast majority of African Americans will end up supporting Obama over Romney.

    "In addition to support for President Obama among blacks there is a definite fear of what the alternative Republican Party agenda represents," Bositis said.

    Other political analysts say if President Obama is to recapture the White House his campaign will again need a strong showing at the polls in African-American communities, especially in battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election.

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