Black Women A Key Vote In Election 2004? - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Women are likely to cast the majority of black votes that John Kerry is expected to receive this November. In the 2000 presidential election, 94% of black women voted Democratic, making them “the single strongest group in the country,” says David A. Bositis, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, an African American think tank in Washington, D.C. In comparison, 85% of black men voted for Al Gore.

In 1996, black men dramatically increased their contribution to the overall black vote so that it equaled the black women’s vote. However, according to the exit polls in 2000, black women represented 60% of the black vote while black men represented 40% — the same breakdown as in 1992.

African Americans tend to support the Democratic Party more than whites and other races, but this is even more so the case with black women. This could be attributed in part to the gender gap — a tendency for women of all races to identify more with Democrats. When black women’s votes were averaged with white women’s, it gave Bill Clinton a winning majority of 54% in 1992 and 51% in 1996.

The Democratic Party tends to push domestic issues, like healthcare and education, which appeal to women voters, says Bositis. Also, considering that women have a longer life expectancy than men, Social Security and retirement have a larger influence on how they vote. Roughly 55% to 65% of all African Americans over age 65 are women.

Also relevant is the lack of partisanship among younger African Americans. A Joint Center report shows that among those aged 18 to 35, young black men are almost twice as likely as young black women to characterize themselves as independent (39% vs. 22%). Bositis hypothesizes that one reason for the increase in young black Independents is their lack of experience with the civil rights movement. This trend will likely be key in the 2004 elections since 62% of African Americans of voting age are under 44 and since “strong partisans are more likely to vote than weak partisans, independent leaners, and Independents,” according to Bositis.

Although Gore lost in 2000, black women helped him win key states, such as Pennsylvania, California, and New York. “The Democrats obviously need a very strong black vote in order to win,” continues Bositis. “Clearly, [depending on turnout,] that is going to mean a very strong black women vote.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.