Joint Center poll: Blacks concerned about country’s direction, economy
A demonstrator's hands are raised, one with a message, as law enforcement officers are stationed behind a perimeter security fence, during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Recently, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a survey revealing African Americans’ opinions and attitudes on various issues important to us.

Listed below are some of the poll’s key findings.

  • Majority of Blacks surveyed rate several other key economic issues as top priorities for President Biden, including several Build Back Better priorities, such as providing financial support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, making childcare more affordable, and expanding the Child Tax and Earned Income Tax credits.
    • While 73% of Blacks agree with forgiving up to $50,000 of student loan debt, slightly more — 76% — agree with forgiving all student loan debt.
  • 81% of Black Americans surveyed believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to reduce the impact of racism and discrimination on Black Americans, and 51% currently disapprove of the job the federal government is doing on this matter.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents consider it important for President Biden to prioritize appointing Black people to important government positions, supporting Black businesses, closing the gap between the rich and the poor, and providing Blacks with better access to credit.
  • 65% of respondents rated the state of the economy as just fair or poor, with 61% reporting their personal economic situations to be just fair or poor, as well.
  • Despite the president and vice president’s fair/positive approval ratings, Democrats in Congress fare slightly worse with an approval rating of 68%.
    • Meanwhile, one-in-five Blacks (21%) approve of the job Republicans are doing.

“The results of our poll paint a clear picture: the economy may be rebounding, but most Black Americans have yet to feel any actual signs of improvement,” said Jessica Fulton, vice president, Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “As Black Americans continue to serve as a lifeline for the economic well-being of our nation – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – it is crucial that they are centered in our recovery.”

“Despite a divided Congress, there are solutions the president can enact through executive orders to address racial wealth disparities, namely canceling student loan debt and providing better pathways to home ownership,” said Derrick Johnson, president, NAACP. These remain two of the most essential building blocks to wealth creation.”

“The poll from the Joint Center reflects the old saying that when white America gets a cold, Black America catches pneumonia,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director, Black Voters Matter. “The economic recovery our country is experiencing continues to escape many Black Americans.”

Albright believes in order to mobilize Black voters, President Biden needs to speak directly to issues outlined, including poverty, health care and job creation.

“How the president speaks to these matters will have a great impact on how groups like Black Voters Matter are able to mobilize Black voters during the upcoming midterm elections,” said Albright.

-Joint Center / Chandra Hayslett

Aswad Walker

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...