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Black Americans deeply concerned about the direction of the country, poll says

Story at a glance

  • New polling data found most Black Americans are unhappy with the state of the U.S. economy.
  • About 50 percent of Black Americans surveyed said they think the U.S. has gone seriously off track.
  • Almost three-quarters of Black Americans indicated they’re planning to watch President Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address.

As President Biden is due to deliver his first State of the Union address, new polling data suggests that many Black Americans aren’t happy with the direction of the U.S. economy. 

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The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies published results of a poll that found 65 percent of Black Americans rated the economy as just fair or poor, while 61 percent said their personal economic situations were also just fair or poor. The center polled 600 Black Americans between Feb. 12-15, ranging in age from 18 to 64. 

About 50 percent of Black Americans surveyed said they think things in the U.S. have gone seriously off track, while 45 percent indicated they think things are going in the right direction. 

A majority of Black Americans surveyed, 73 percent, agreed that up to $50,000 of student loan debt should be forgiven, while 76 percent agree with forgiving all student loan debt. 


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When it came to racism and discrimination, 81 percent of Black Americans surveyed said they believe it’s the federal government’s responsibility to reduce the impact on Black Americans, while 51 percent currently disapprove of the job the federal government is doing on this matter. 

More than two-thirds of those surveyed also consider it important for Biden to prioritize appointing Black people to important government positions, supporting Black businesses, closing the wealth gap and providing Black Americans with better access to credit. 

Biden is making headway on one of those issues, completing interviews with three potential Supreme Court nominees, each one a Black woman. Biden is expected to announce his pick by the end of this month. 

“The results of our poll paint a clear picture: the economy may be rebounding, but most Black Americans have yet to feel any actual signs of improvement,” said Jessica Fulton, vice president of policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, in a statement. 

That’s also evident in a separate NBC News poll that found Black Americans approval rating of the president slid from 83 percent to 64 percent. 

The president’s State of the Union address will be watched by many, with 7 out of 10 Black Americans indicating they plan to watch the speech and expect Biden to address issues they’re most concerned about, like affordable health care, housing, reducing poverty, creating better paying jobs, reducing inflation and the cost of living. 

“We urge the president to use his speech next week to speak to the economic issues plaguing Black Americans. Despite a divided Congress, there are solutions the president can enact through executive orders to address racial wealth disparities, namely canceling student loan debt and providing better pathways to home ownership. These remain two of the most essential building blocks to wealth creation,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 


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Published on Feb 23,2022

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