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Black pollster: Democrats got their ‘butt’ whipped

FREDDIE ALLEN | 11/17/2014, 12:57 a.m.
Even with overwhelming support from Black voters, Democrats still lost control of the United States Senate in the midterm elections ...

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Even with overwhelming support from Black voters, Democrats still lost control of the United States Senate in the midterm elections and President Barack Obama will have to compromise with the GOP-controlled Congress in order to get anything done in his last two years.

“First let’s put it in context, and this is not an excuse, the Democrats got their a—- whipped, but it was predictable,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic strategist, pollster and president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, a polling firm that works with the Democratic National Committee.

Belcher, an African American, said that Republicans had both history and geography on their side. Many of the key races were run in the heart of Republican territory, through the heart of the South. Belcher added that the midterm electorate also tends to be older and less diverse, voters that tend not to be very favorable toward Democrats.

“There was a lot of conversation going into this election about how wildly unpopular the president is and that was the narrative that the Republicans ran with and the media actually helped them run with it,” Belcher said.

On Election Day, roughly 40 percent of Americans approved of the job the president was doing, according to a recent Gallup poll. In Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas, where Democratic candidates were soundly defeated, the president’s approval rating was below 40 percent.

“If the president’s job approval was 51, 52, 53 percent, that would mean absolutely nothing in Kentucky or a lot of these solidly red states where you’re not going to see a lot of enthusiasm for a Democratic candidate,” Belcher said.

Belcher suggested that the Democrats have a White voter problem.

“Democrats haven’t won White voters since [President Lyndon Johnson] signed the civil rights legislation,” Belcher said. “You would think that because we’re post-racial now, we’d been winning more White voters, but the truth of the matter is we’re winning less.”

Minority voting, as a proportion of the electorate, actually increased during the 2014 midterm elections compared to 2010 midterms, Belcher said. Those gains were driven largely by Black voter turnout.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project, a group that provides public opinion surveys on Latino views on social economic and cultural issues, Hispanics accounted for 8 percent of midterm voters, the same share they garnered in 2006 and 2010. The share of Black voters has increased steadily from 10 percent in 2006 to 11 percent in 2010 and 12 percent in 2014.

Meanwhile the share of White voters in the electorate continues to decline, down from 79 percent in 2006 to 75 percent in 2014.

The Pew Research Center found that 89 percent of Black voters supported Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, Whites voted for Republican candidates 60 percent of the time.

“Democrats really pushed women’s equity issues, but [President Obama] is scary and when you tell me you’re a ‘Clinton Democrat’ and you’re parsing it up like that, we Southerners know what that means,” Belcher said. “As much as they tried to run from it, that’s what they couldn’t escape.”