Nearly 90 percent of Black women voters in Georgia say they're likely to vote in runoffs: survey

Nearly 90 percent of Black female voters in Georgia said in a new survey that they are likely to vote in the Senate runoff elections taking place in the state next month, which will determine which party controls the upper chamber.

The findings were included in a survey coming out this week that was conducted by HIT Strategies on behalf of Higher Heights for America, an organization committed to increasing Black women’s political power in the country. 

In the survey, which polled 495 registered Black female voters in Georgia, 83 percent of respondents said they were extremely likely to vote in the runoff elections, in addition to 4 percent of respondents who said they were somewhat likely to do the same. 

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Eleven percent of those polled said they were not very likely to vote in the January races, and 3 percent said they were not likely at all.  

The survey’s findings also showed gaps between those polled when it came to factors like age and environment.

Ninety-five percent of Black female voters in the state over the age of 50 said they were extremely or somewhat likely to vote in next month’s runoff elections, compared to 81 percent of those under the age of 50 who said the same.

Ninety-six percent of Black female voters in urban areas also said they were extremely or somewhat likely to vote in next month’s runoff elections. Eighty percent of those polled who live in rural areas said the same. 

Glynda Carr, president and CEO of Higher Heights for America, said in a written statement that “Black women know there’s a lot riding on the results of this runoff for Georgia and for the country.”

“In the face of persistent voter suppression and disinformation efforts, however, we can still determine who will win these races just like we did in the presidential election," she continued. "Black women must have a plan to get the information we need about this election to our communities and a strategy to make sure we all get to the polls early and on January 5."

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While the majority of those polled said they were aware of next month’s runoff elections, less than half of the participants answered the correct date for the races in the survey. 

According to the survey’s findings, 48 percent of respondents knew the correct date for the runoffs, which will take place on Jan. 5. Sixteen percent of respondents answered incorrectly and 36 percent said they didn’t know or didn’t answer the question.

Further breakdown of the figures in the poll showed that only 45 percent of those surveyed under the age of 50 answered with the correct date, compared to 52 percent of those over the age of 50 who also did. Forty-four percent of those in urban areas also answered the correct date in the survey, as well as 51 percent of those in rural areas.

Roshni Nedungadi, a Democratic pollster and partner at HIT Strategies, said in a call with reporters on Thursday that the figure regarding Black female voters in urban areas was particularly of note given the large number of respondents from that bloc that said in the poll that they were extremely likely to vote. 

“We need to make sure that we're equipping them with the information that they need to vote in the upcoming election,” Nedungadi said.

When asked how they planned to vote in the coming runoff elections, 42 percent said they planned to vote in person early before Election Day. Thirty-one percent said they planned to vote absentee by mail and 14 percent said they intend to vote in person on Election Day.

The poll also found that the voters’ policy priorities remained the same when it came to their community or themselves.

Pressed in the survey about what legislation they thought would be most impactful for their community if it were to pass Congress, more respondents named the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which is the coronavirus relief legislation passed by House Democrats back in May, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. 

The same three bills also drew the most support from respondents when asked what legislation they thought would be most impactful for themselves.

The answers correlated with the top three issues Black female voters polled said were facing the state of Georgia today: coronavirus, racism and discrimination, and health care.

The poll also allowed respondents to rate prominent political figures in terms of favorability, including candidates set to face off in next month’s runoff elections: Republican Sens. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerWarnock picks up major abortion rights group's endorsement in reelection bid Trump endorses Hershel Walker for Georgia Senate seat Herschel Walker's entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race MORE and David PerdueDavid PerdueGOP sees Biden crises as boon for midterm recruitment Trump campaign, RNC refund donors another .8 million in 2021: NYT Loeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run MORE and their Democratic challengers the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. 

Loeffler and Perdue both notched higher ratings of unfavorability from the participants, with 70 percent and 71 percent of respondents saying they have cold or unfavorable feelings toward both, respectively.

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By comparison, Warnock and Ossoff gained higher ratings of favorability among those polled, with 78 percent and 73 percent of respondents saying they have warm or favorable feelings toward both candidates, respectively. 

Black voters were instrumental in helping secure President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE’s victory in the Peach State last month. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 to flip the reliably red state. 

According to the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, 1.2 million African Americans voted in the state in last month’s election. Democratic state Rep. Karen Bennett, who chairs the caucus, said at the time that the figure represented an “increase of 500,000 compared to 2016.”

Black female voters were key to helping the former vice president win nationwide, with exit poll data from The Washington Post showing 90 percent of the voting bloc cast their ballot in support of Biden across the country. CNN reported last month that exit poll data also showed that Biden notched 92 percent of the Black women vote in Georgia last month.

Nedungadi said the bloc will be crucial to determining whether the party succeeds in picking up both Senate seats in the Georgia runoffs next month.  

“Democrats cannot flip the Senate without Black women voters, and there is an urgent need to empower Black women in Georgia with the information they need to vote” Nedungadi said in a written statement.

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“The majority (52%) of these voters do not know the runoff is on January 5th even though they express a near universal likelihood to vote (87%),” she wrote. “Black women see policies that can be passed with a Senate majority like the Heroes Act (76%) and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (74%) as largely impacting their community."

“Connecting this race to these policy priorities will mobilize Democrats’ most supportive voting bloc,” she added.

HIT Strategies said the survey was conducted “via 40% online and 60% phone” between Nov. 20-25. The survey has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent.