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Young people, both black and white, are more inclined than their elders to identify themselves as republicans, according to the 1996 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies National Opinion Poll.
Blacks between ages 18 to 25 are very interested in the Republican Party’s promises of success in the private sector, tax breaks, school vouchers, and other economic opportunities, says Dr. Margaret Simms, vice president of research, at the Joint Center.
However, this small percentage of the African American voting population isn’t expected to tip the African American Democratic Party voting trend. While 17.6% of young blacks identify themselves as republicans, only 11% actually voted republican in the 1996 election.
The Joint Center’s study also shows that as African Americans get older, they swing toward the Democratic Party. David Ruffin, focus editor for the office of communication and marketing, at the Joint Center, explains, “The problem is that African Americans really aren’t satisfied with any party because none [of them] suits their needs.
“Young people have not had the experience of the civil rights movement, and they’d have to be more than 20 years old to remember the Reagan era which was very hostile to African Americans.”
What voting patterns should we expect to see from African Americans in the 2000 presidential election? According to the Joint Center, blacks are expected to continue to provide the highest percentage of support for the Democratic Party, and support for the Republican Party is not likely to grow. The Republican Party will most likely receive 8% to 12% of the black vote.