Black voters shifting toward Bloomberg, away from Biden
Joe Biden's support among black voters is slipping, while Michael Bloomberg's is gaining.
By Nathan Godin | Feb 25, 2020 | Print-friendly

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg is chipping away at former vice-president Joe Biden's strong support among black voters, a new Quinnipiac University Poll suggests. The poll found black support for Bloomberg rising to 22%, while Biden's support is now down to 27%.

Black voters are considered a key base for the Democratic primaries in general and for Biden's campaign in particular. Bloomberg's rising numbers is therefore an ominous sign for the Biden campaign.

"This spells trouble for the VP," said one Democratic strategist who is unaffiliated with any of the presidential campaigns.

Black voters will be a dominant bloc in the South Carolina primary, which takes place later this month. The Biden campaign cancelled some planned events in New Hampshire on Tuesday to head to South Carolina, in a sign that Biden sees reason to worry.

Biden finished fifth in New Hampshire's primary Wednesday, which Senator Bernie Sanders won with 26% of the vote; and was the fourth-place candidate in Iowa. Democratic strategist Joel Payne said that these weak performances by Biden may be causing some black voters to peel away from him and toward other candidates who seem more likely to win.

Bloomberg has spent hundred of millions on ads in states that will host their primaries on Super Tuesday while completely foregoing New Hampshire and the other early primary states. Payne said that while Biden falters, Bloomberg's message may look like "more of a sure thing."

Bloomberg has faced questions about his record as mayor, in particular the city police's disproportionate use of "stop-and-frisk" against residents of color. He defended himself in a statement Friday in which he said that he only "inherited" the practice and that he cut it back by 95% but regrets not having acted against it sooner.