The president’s supporters argue that Obama’s record makes it clear that he has worked for black advancement, as he promised.
His signature health-care law will boost the plight of poorer blacks, they say, and his support for public service jobs in the stimulus bill also benefits the community. (According to the University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center, 21 percent of black workers are public employees.) Middle-class tax cuts, too, have helped black families as well as white.
And, says Professor Gillespie, likely black voters do not fault Obama for the poor economy, but but the blame instead on what they see as obstructionist Republicans trying to undermine the president at all costs.
“I’ve heard black people say the president would do more, but ‘they’ won’t let him,” says Carol Swain, a Vanderbilt University professor who specializes in evangelical politics, and who is herself African-American. “They believe that if he’s reelected he’ll do more for them.”
Black support for Obama could be seen in a California snap poll taken by SurveyUSA shortly after Wednesday’s first presidential debate, in which everybody surveyed but African-Americans thought Mitt Romney won.
Moreover, in this election, voting for Obama is less about racial pride and more about policy – particularly that Republican policies hold fewer specific rewards or distinct promises for the black community, suggests David Bositis, a political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, in an interview with the Tennesseean newspaper in Nashville.