As of the most recent quarterly report, President Barack Obama’s approval rating among African-Americans is at 90 percent. While it is six percent lower than when the president first took office, vocal disapproval of the president by several Black leaders has led many to believe the president’s approval rating among Black voters is far lower.
However, at the Democratic National Convention last week, Black delegates said they saw evidence of all the president has done to help African-Americans.
|FOUR MORE YEARS—President Barack Obama was nominated at the 2012 Democratic National Convention for four more years in office. He will face Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the Nov. 6 presidential election.
“The takeaway for African-American voters is to realize the president has worked on behalf of our community. I think there are some misconceptions that he hasn’t done enough for our community and he has,” said District 13 County Council Representative Amanda Green Hawkins, a delegate at the convention. “I think it’s important to remember he hasn’t forsaken or forgotten people.”
At both the DNC and the Republican National Convention jobs and the economy were the key focus. And with African-American unemployment far surpassing the numbers for the general population at 14.1 percent, jobs are clearly the key focus in the Black community.
“Congressman (Emanuel) Cleaver was great as well because he talked about having hope despite your circumstances. You hear all these snide remarks about hope and change and he was saying hope on,” Hawkins said. “I thought that spoke to our history as African-Americans in this country. Hope on.”
Hawkins said the DNC highlighted the president’s contributions to the Black community such as the Affordable Care Act, and increasing Pell grants for college students. She said without obstructionists in Congress, the president would’ve been able to do more.
“I liked what (Deval Patrick) did. He essentially challenged Democrats to be bold and to stand up for the president and not to let anybody beat up on him,” Hawkins said. “It goes back to the idea that ‘oh he hasn’t done anything for me.’ When we beat up on him it opens the door to others. So no I’m not going to let anyone beat up on my president because he doesn’t deserve it.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, another delegate from Pennsylvania echoed Hawkins’ belief that the Affordable Care Act and increases to Pell grants had aided the Black community. He said the DNC highlighted differences between how the president and his opponent Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plan to increase jobs and improve the economy.
“The main issues are about jobs and the economy. The main issues here are about how do we move this country forward or are we moving backward. There’s a stark contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney.”
The slew of African-American speakers at the convention included California Congresswoman Karen Bass, Rep. Al Green from Texas, Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and Mayor Cory Booker from Newark, N.J. Nutter said every night of the DNC was unique.
“Whether it was incredible presentation made by our First Lady, or Lilly Ledbetter, there is a message in all of those messages for everyone and especially for African-American voters,” Nutter said. “First Lady Michelle Obama had an incredible presentation. It was really a conversation with the country about family values, her family’s values and how the president makes decisions.”