Most black voters reject DeSantis blocking black history course, Biden approves
Most black voters reject Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent move to block the teaching of a black history college class, part of his recent effort to reshape the state ahead of an expected presidential run, according to a new poll.
The survey also found that President Joe Biden remains very popular among black voters.
That HIT Strategy’s latest BlackTrack survey coming as DeSantis has emerged as the leading contender to former President Donald Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — a contest that has major implications for the direction of the GOP as a whole.
Dissatisfaction with DeSantis
Nearly two-thirds of black voters, 65%, said they disapproved of DeSantis’ actions to limit Advanced Placement African American studies.
More than half, 51%, said they “strongly disagree”, while only 14% said they agreed with the decision.
Black voters also said there is a lack of black history taught in public schools; 70% of black voters said elementary schools teach “too little” about black history.
DeSantis has often pushed back against diversity, equity and inclusion programs across public universities and colleges in Florida.
What does this mean for Democrats?
Jermaine House, senior director of communications at HIT Strategies, said DeSantis’ attacks on black history and critical race theory could help Democrats.
“I think any Republican who uses these tools (attacking black history) represents a great opportunity for Democrats to mobilize black voters and Democratic voters,” House said.
House also said that teaching critical race theory, which argues that racism is embedded in American laws and institutions, garners a majority of support among black and Democratic voters of all races.
“This is another issue where Democratic Party politicians are out of step with the actual base of the Democratic Party,” he said.
What did the poll show about Biden?
The overwhelming majority of black voters, 82%, approved of Biden. Biden’s approval rating was up eight percentage points from last month, when 74% of black voters approved of him.
The survey was taken in the wake of Biden’s State of the Union address on February 7.
Congressional Democrats also increased their approval ratings among black voters; 80% of black voters approved of Democrats, up six percentage points from last month.
The age difference in Biden’s approval numbers
While Biden enjoys high approval ratings among black voters, there are reasons for concern.
Among black voters over 50, 88% approve of Biden. But that percentage drops to 77% among black voters under 50, a difference of 11 percent.
Death of Tire Nichols
The video of Memphis police officers brutally beat Tire Nicholsa 29-year-old black man who later died, attracted national attention at the end of January.
In the aftermath, 82% of black voters said the police use of force was unjustified, and 90% said Memphis police officers involved in the beating of Nichols should be found guilty.
Nearly 60% of black voters said police resources should be redirected to fund community services, while only 8% disagreed.
House said that while the slogan “defund the police” is unpopular among black voters, there is more support for it when it is explained without using the slogan.
“When you say ‘do you prefer to fund things like social services, alternative services, counselling, rather than maximizing police budgets?’ a majority of black voters say yes,” he said. “That’s not just true for black voters, though. It’s true for Americans in general.”
Ultimately, House said, voters want to “reimagine policing and public safety. But the party’s leadership just isn’t there.”
The voting was done via an online opt-in panel from 16-19. February and has a margin of error of 3.1%.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Poll: Black voters reject DeSantis blocking black history class