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Poll: Older Black Women Believe in the Power of the Vote

Staff reports

Older Black women who plan to vote in the general election describe themselves as motivated, and those over 65 are much more likely to strongly agree that they make a difference in who wins.

Voters said there is a need for change and racial justice, according to a nationwide poll from Change Research of 506 likely Black women voters in the 2020 election.

The poll found that 75% of respondents were more motivated to vote than they ever have been. A smaller group — 25% — said they were growing hopeless that voting would not bring the change they want to see.

Overall, 84% agreed somewhat or much more with the statement, “The outcome of this election hinges on me and voters like me. When we vote, we make a difference in who wins.” Among voters between ages 50 and 64, 78% were much more likely to agree with the statement and for those 65 and older, 89% were in strong agreement.

Motivation and hopelessness were split along age lines. Among voters older than 50, approximately 86% said they are more motivated than ever and only 14% said they are growing hopeless about the resultant change. Among voters younger than 50, 65% said they are more motivated and 35% said they are growing hopeless.

Voters also said they were anxious, optimistic and energized, with voters between the ages of 35-49 being equally anxious and optimistic.

Other key findings from the poll taken Sept. 30 through Oct. 4:

  • Black women voters are highly attuned to priorities that reflect their greatest anxieties about 2020: the consequences of losing the election; the need for a robust response to the coronavirus crisis; and the need for racial justice. Respondents said that combating racism and discrimination, COVID-19 and jobs and the economy were top priorities for themselves and for the Black community.
  • Respondents seem to grasp their own political power to make a difference in the election. When asked to choose from a list of demographic groups who they think can make the biggest difference to the outcome of the presidential election if they turn out in big numbers, 64% chose Black women, and this was the group most commonly selected from the list.

The pollsters asked for the word or phrase that best describes the motivation for voting this year. Respondents commonly said the need for change, the need for racial justice, the very high stakes of this election and the need to “protect our democracy” and the fact that people must vote like their literal lives depend on it.

When asked what keeps them up at night, respondents replied with variations on the theme of racism, with frequent mentions of police brutality and the fear of being harmed or killed.