Focus groups of black voters put together by a Democratic pollster found that Hillary Clinton is underperforming among black voters.
The focus groups were organized by Cornell Belcher of Brilliant Corner Research & Strategy. Belcher previously worked as a pollster for the Democratic National Committee. He found that Hillary is underperforming with black voters in the key states of Ohio and Florida and that they didn’t feel compelled to vote for her out of disdain for Donald Trump.
Some didn’t see why they should not like Trump. “I see why [Hispanics] are scared of him because he is attacking their family. But I don’t understand why I should be more scared than anybody else,” a black Florida millennial Obama surge voter said.
A black non-college graduate Ohio millennial man said, “For the fact they got Hillary against Donald Trump. It’s to tell you that it’s just the lesser of two evils either way you go. If you choose Hillary, she was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail.”
The pollster also found black voters receptive to Trump’s message of a “rigged system.” “So what is really the point in voting if it’s all rigged. I read about them being able to change the votes to control who even wins,” a non-college graduate black Ohio millennial man said.
The polls Belcher conducted of Ohio found Hilary underperforming Obama in 2012 among black voters by ten percent. In Florida, she is behind Obama’s 2012 performance by 12 percent. The gap is more pronounced among black men — 14 percent in Ohio and 16 percent in Florida. The polling was conducted in July 2016, while the focus groups took place in August.
A note on the slide for the Ohio poll says, “Big performance gap with black voters.”
The presentation of the focus group findings also has strategies for pushing these black voters to vote for Clinton. For example, for cynical voters the Clinton campaign should “make Trump’s racism real & develop mobilization around community agenda.”
In more detail about the effort to paint Trump as a racist, a slide says they should try “tying Trump to violence against Black bodies (this language is important) is also very compelling.”
The Clinton campaign has been doing this with advertisements connecting Trump to the Ku Klux Klan. One advertisement by a Super PAC supporting her ties him to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.