Black Voters Could Make the Difference

A study shows that a large turnout by African Americans in the November elections could help President Obama keep control of Congress.

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New York Times columnist Charles Blow

After two years in which President Obama seemed to keep black voters at arm's length, the White House is finally making an unabashed appeal to racial solidarity; it could work, reports New York Times columnist Charles Blow. A report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies shows that there are significant concentrations of African-American voters in many disputed election districts.

A report issued Thursday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies outlines the fact that black voters are "strategically situated in 2010 to have a major impact" because (1) there is "a significant number of black voters in the states and districts where many of the most competitive elections will be held" and (2) "there is a president who is very popular with African-Americans and who is under attack from Congressional Republicans."

And Friday, The Washington Post reported that a poll by that newspaper, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University found that "80 percent of black Democrats are as interested or more interested in the midterms than they were in the 2008 presidential election."

A large black turnout next month could prove decisive and upset the predictions of most pundits. If blacks do turn out in record numbers, it would almost certainly be because they are drawn out by their devotion to Obama, a devotion he's counting on.

As the president told an audience last week at Bowie State University, a historically black college, in Maryland: "I think the pundits are wrong. But it's up to you to prove them wrong. Don't make me look bad, now."

The big questionis whether black voters will stop complaining and go out to vote on Election Day. The entire column is here.

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