The Party Divide – Most Black Voters are Moderates and Many Hold Conservative Policy Positions

Market Research Foundation’s July 2018 survey on 1000 African Americans asked voters about their political views and party identity, and discovered that while 83% of respondents voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, only 58% lean Democrat, and a significant share hold conservative or moderate views on issues like same-sex marriage and business regulations. For insight into how black voters feel about immigration and an explanation of the higher education correlation to Trump support among black voters, check out our August 20th blog.

Black Voters Consider Themselves Moderate on Most Issues 

Across the spectrum of policy issues – education, healthcare, the economy, and moral issues like abortion and same-sex marriage – the largest shares of Black voters identified as moderates. Moral issues was the area where the largest share of voters (27%) identified as Conservative or Very Conservative. There were no issues where more than half of the respondents indicated they were Somewhat Liberal or Very Liberal.

Below is a breakdown of how voters identified on each issue.Black voters on the issues

Education, Healthcare, and Stances on Race Issues Top the List of Key Considerations for Black Voters

When asked the most important issue to them when deciding to support a candidate or campaign, the largest share of respondents (28%) chose the candidate or campaign’s position on issues like education and healthcare. Sixteen percent chose stances on race issues, 11% chose stances on economic issues, and 11% prioritized past experience.

Black voters most important issues

More Black Voters Hold Conservative Views Than Liberal Views on Business and Government Regulation

We asked voters to indicate levels of agreement of disagreement on a series of economic questions, and found that majorities of respondents held traditionally conservative economic views on issues like government involvement in the economy and regulations. Forty-six percent of respondents Very Strongly Agreed, Strongly Agreed, or Agreed that the government is too involved in the economy, versus 44% who disagreed. Forty-nine percent Very Strongly Agreed, Strongly Agreed, or Agreed that it is too hard to start a business, versus 40% who disagreed, and 45% Very Strongly Agreed, Strongly Agreed, or Agreed that there are too many regulations for businesses, versus 42% who disagreed. Eighty-percent of respondents Very Strongly Agreed, Strongly Agreed, or Agreed that small businesses are the key to America’s economic success.

Below is a breakdown of agreement or disagreement across four key economic questions.

Black voters’ views are nuanced, and many positions are more compatible with conservative policies than with liberal policies, especially on moral and business issues.