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What’s the Matter with Detroit?

John on September 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Two stories that came out within a few days of each caught my attention. First this one:

In a recent BlackPlanet/NewsOne poll, 74 percent of African Americans polled approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy while 26 percent disapprove.

This is in contrast to the Gallup poll this month showing 26% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy. Broken down by party affiliation, we see that Obama gets 5% support from Republicans and 53% from Democrats (including a large contingent of black supporters who are propping him above 50%).

Here’s the second story:

The African-American jobless rate climbed from 15.9 to 16.7…The unemployment rate for Black males rose a whole percentage point to 18.0 percent and from 39.2 to 46.5 percent for Black youths aged 16-19.

These are horrendous numbers. So why are black voters still supporting the President on the economy? Obviously support was a lot higher during 2008, so it has dropped off somewhat. Still, 74% is strong approval in the midst of terrible economic times.

When Thomas Frank raised this question about middle-America (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) I responded that perhaps voters didn’t vote for short term gain because they didn’t believe in a free lunch. So what’s the comparable argument here?

If I had to guess I’d say some of it is identity politics and some of it is conventional wisdom about the GOP, but I’d expect this sort of sentiment to show up in favorability polling, not the economy. How can anyone approve of this economy?

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Category: Politics |

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