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Howard University and the NNPA Make History with the 2016 National Black Voter Poll

By Vania Brown, Howard University News Service

WASHINGTON – A week before the 2016 presidential election Howard University and the National Newspaper Publishers Association presented the results of the 2016 National Black Voter Poll at the National Press Building.

The study was conducted by a collaboration of the NNPA and a research team of Howard University educators. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Ph. D., President and CEO of the NNPA, said that the questions directed toward the voters were strictly asked to assess information that had never been gathered before.

Chavis said this is a new national poll that shows 89 percent of Black American voters planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. “Their choice is influenced by concerns about high quality, affordable education, income inequality, jobs, the economy, race relations and racial justice,” Chavis said.

According to the press release, “The data predict a high voter turnout among Black American voters in the November 8, 2016 election and a strong preference for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.”

With the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails, researchers followed up with voters  to measure favorability and compare results. According to the release, research showed feelings in support of Clinton rose and those for Trump were cut in half.

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Chavis said, “Black Americans are sensitive to hardship, are sensitive to systematic efforts to put you down. A lot of the respondents saw this latest controversy with Hillary’s emails, and it reminded them of how black people used to be treated.”

While data was gathered to measure thoughts of Trump being racist, Dr. Chavis said that the question of Trump being sexist was not asked in the survey.

“We asked how it was felt, but it didn’t rise to the level of race. In further polls I think we should. It was not poignantly asked in the survey,” said Chavis.

Chavis said the topic of race was specifically asked because where the candidate stood on on race issues was not mentioned in any other poll. Chavis said, “because of all the allegations around Donald Trump that would be another important question.”

The poll concludes that black women are highly influential in the political front. In this survey, 70% of the voters measured were women. The press release states “black women show they are the forefront of social change and political history in the United States by voting to elect the nation’s first black and now its first female president.”

Terri Adams, Ph. D., in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University, said, “that doesn’t necessarily reflect that black males will not vote.”

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Adams said, “women tend to participate more in our community in an electoral process.”

Rubin Patterson, Ph. D., in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University, said this is a result of a combination of black women furthering their education and the effect mass incarceration has on black men.

“Incarceration and the disenfranchisement in various states and to various degrees, Patterson said. “There are different categories of that.”

Chavis said the methodology of the poll was cellphones landline telephones, and the majority of those surveyed were age 56 or older.

In the future, Chavis said he would like for the results to be more inclusive in measuring the votes of black millennials, and said, “I know a lot of millennials utilize social media for information.”

The issues is, Chavis said, “we have to find a way to verify the responder is the person. We have to find an accurate way of reaching that responsiveness from millennials utilizing media formats they are engaged in.”

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In order to properly conduct social media surveys, Chavis said he will reach out to millennials as council.

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