A recent post-election statewide survey of Black voters in California may underscore the pivotal role Black voters played in helping top Democratic candidates build winning majorities statewide.
The survey of 1,099 African Americans voters who cast ballots in the midterm election was sponsored by the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation Project (AAVREP). It was the only post-election statewide survey that elevates the candidate preferences and ballot measure priorities of California’s Black voters.
Among the key findings were:
— Black voters solidly backed Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. Four-in-five Black voters (81 percent) report casting a ballot for Newsom over his Republican challenger John Cox, who received 9 percent of the Black vote. This level of support far outpaces Newsom’s support statewide by twenty-percentage points—statewide, 60 percent of voters supported Newsom compared to 40 percent who supported Cox.
Strong support for Newsom and other democratic candidates running against republican contenders likely stems from Black voter’s commitment to opposing the Trump administration, which many voters pointed to as one of the most important factors that drove them to the polls this month.
— The survey results are also suggestive of the strong support democratic candidates garnered among the Black electorate in highly competitive congressional races. Although sample sizes in Congressional races are very limited, preliminary findings suggest that 80 percent or more of Black voters in Congressional District 25 and Congressional District 10, supported democrats Katie Hill and Josh Harder, respectively.
— Black voters were among Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s core base of support. Three-in- five Black voters (63 percent) report voting for Feinstein over State Sen. Kevin de León. Feinstein’s support among Black voters outpaced her support statewide by nearly 10 percentage points. Statewide Feinstein garnered 55 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent of the vote that went to de León.
Black voters also contributed significantly to vote totals in contested statewide races. In the race for California Insurance Commissioner, Democrat Ricardo Lara received 59 percent of the vote, compared to 19 percent for Independent Steve Poizner. In the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond received 56 percent of the vote, compared to 18 percent for School Improvement Director Marshall Tuck.
— A majority of Black voters voted in favor of Proposition 10, a measure that would have given local governments the authority to enact rent control. Although 61 percent of voters statewide voted against Proposition 10, 52 two percent of Black voters favored the measure. In fact, many Black voters expressed both disappointment and concern over the measure’s failure, and a desire for state government to continue to address the issue of housing affordability.
— Black voters opposed Proposition 6, the measure to repeal the gas tax. Nearly half of voters (49 percent) opposed the measure to repeal the gax tax, which was linked to road repair and transportation funding, compared to just 29 percent who recalled voting “no” on the measure. Twenty percent reported that they could not recall how they voted or preferred not to say.
— Support for Proposition 8, the measure to regulate the fees of dialysis clinics, was nearly evenly divided—42 percent of Black voters reported that they voted “yes” in favor of the measure, and 40 percent said they voted “no.” This stands in stark contrast to the high levels of support the measure enjoyed in early September, when polling showed that a full 81 percent of voters favored the measure.