Black voter support plummets for Supreme Court: poll

The Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, June 30, 2022 as the court is set to release opinions in Biden v. Texas and West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.
Greg Nash
The Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, June 30, 2022 as the court is set to release opinions in Biden v. Texas and West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.

Support for the Supreme Court has plummeted among Black voters after justices overturned the constitutional right to abortion, according to a new HIT Strategies BlackTrack poll released Wednesday.

Prior to the reversal, approval of the Supreme Court among Black voters was 63 percent in March. But this month, that approval rating plunged to 42 percent, an all-time low for the public opinion research company’s polling. 

The drop in support came after the court saw its highest approval rating from Black voters during the confirmation process for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to sit on the nation’s highest court. 

Now, the poll found, 83 percent of Black voters are concerned about the reversal of federal abortion protections. Many reported their highest concerns to be about how the lack of abortion access will harm other Black people and marginalized communities, including those who identify as LGBTQ.

But another reason behind the drop in approval was the court’s decision to expand individual gun rights. 

In June, the court struck down New York limits on carrying concealed handguns in public. A week later, it threw out lower court rulings on gun restrictions such as bans on assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The decision was bound to upset Black voters as the community continues to heal from the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., where a white supremacist shot 13 people, killing 10, with an AR-15 in May.

The Supreme Court lost most of its support from Black women: Between March and July, Black women’s approval for the court decreased from 65 percent to 38 percent. 

Black voters over 50 also saw a large decrease in support for the court, dropping from 60 percent to 35 percent. 

But that’s not to say the there’s no potential for the court to regain some support from Black voters. There are two steps the court could take, said Jermaine House, senior communications director for HIT Strategies.

“One, place another Black woman on the court and have the court reflect America more closely,” said House. “Two, they could start issuing decisions that actually protect people’s rights and not take people’s rights away.”

But House added that because the court has become so politicized in the last few years, regaining trust won’t be easy.

And Black voters’ disappointment in the Supreme Court could spell trouble for Democrats as the midterm elections approach. 

Though Biden’s approval rating addressing the needs of Black people is at 74 percent, that number hasn’t changed since March — and it varies by age and gender.

BlackTrack respondents over 50 gave the president an 83 percent approval rating when it comes to addressing the needs of the Black community. But among voters younger than 50, he received a 67 percent approval rating. 

Meanwhile, only 69 percent of Black male voters approve of Biden’s overall job performance, though Black women gave him a 78 percent approval rating.

“In the aftermath of a traumatic series of events for the country and a disastrous set of Supreme Court decisions, Black voters are becoming increasingly concerned by the threat of abortion restrictions and gun violence,” said Terrance Woodbury, a founding partner at HIT Strategies, in a statement. 

“It is critical that President Biden and Democrats maintain their level of trust with the Black community by emphasizing their plan of action to protect Black people from rollbacks in reproductive rights and rising levels of racist violence,” Woodbury added.

The poll is a monthly survey of 1,000 Black voters 18 years and older, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Tags Biden Black voters Ketanji Brown Jackson Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court

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