Much has been written this election year about presidential candidates’ need to do well with Black voters to seal the nomination. That begs the question as to how well California fares with Black voters.

Ahead of Super Tuesday on March, it seemed a far question. As it turns out, California ranks No. 1 Proportional Representation of Blacks in National Party Conventions. Still, the Golden State has room for improvement in other areas.

While black voters turned out at the polls in unprecedented numbers during the 2008 and 2012 elections, black voter turnout fell during the 2016 presidential election, according to Adam McCann, Financial Writer, for WalletHub. The winner of that election, Donald Trump, received approximately 8 percent of the black vote, compared to 88% for his rival Hillary Clinton.

This year, black voters will account for around 12 percent of the national electorate. However, they make up roughly 24 percent of the Democratic primary electorate, which means they will play a key role in selecting 2020’s Democratic nominee. A January poll shows Joe Biden with 48% support among black Democrats, far above the next closest, Bernie Sanders with 20%.

With Black History Month and primary season in full swing, the personal finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2020’s States with the Highest Political Engagement Among African Americans.

To determine where black Americans are most engaged in the political process, WalletHub compared 49 states across six key metrics. They include black voter turnout and registration during the most recent midterm and presidential elections as well as the proportional representation of blacks in the state legislature and national party conventions.

Political Engagement of African Americans in California (1=Most Politically Engaged; 24=Avg.)

  • 40th – Black Voter Turnout (2016 Presidential Election)
  • 19th – Black Voter Turnout (2018 Midterm Elections)
  • 41st – Black Voter Registration (2016 Presidential Election)
  • 33rd – Black Voter Registration (2018 Midterm Elections)
  • 1st – Proportional Representation of Blacks in State Legislature

So, what accounts for low levels of voter turnout among African Americans?

Patricia Davism, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Northeastern University, told WalletHub, “In terms of low voter turnout among African Americans, in addition to the existence of reasons for non-voting shared by other racial and ethnic groups, African Americans have unique challenges that make it more difficult to vote: voter ID laws aimed at disenfranchising black people and access issues that make getting to the polls more cumbersome. Furthermore, some people will inevitably become disengaged when they become estranged from notions of belonging to the national community and when they believe that the government doesn’t work for them

For the full report, please click here. 

Image Sources

  • African American Voters: Shutterstock