As Civil Rights Era Fades From Memory, Generation Gap Divides Black Voters


As Civil Rights Era Fades From Memory, Generation Gap Divides Black Voters

Quick Facts

  • Older Black voters are more determined to vote for President Biden and Democrats, while younger Black voters show less enthusiasm.
  • There is a notable generational divide in support for Democrats among Black voters, driven by broken campaign promises and difficulty in communicating Mr. Biden’s accomplishments.
  • Concerns about disenchantment with Democratic leaders and a rightward shift among nonwhite voters, particularly young men of color, have surfaced.

For years, Loretta Green, 88, has been a dedicated voter, but younger relatives express uncertainty about voting, highlighting challenges for Mr. Biden’s campaign. Polling and focus group data show a significant generational divide within the Black voter bloc, impacting Mr. Biden’s re-election prospects. Young Black voters cite higher living costs, global crises, and dissatisfaction with Mr. Biden’s presidency as reasons for their lack of motivation to vote. Discontent from young voters, particularly regarding foreign policy, underscores the scale of response required to regain their support.

There is a nearly 30-point gap in support for Democrats among Black voters aged 18 to 49 compared to those over 50, emphasizing the generational divide. Young Black voters express dissatisfaction with the lack of improvement in their lives under Mr. Biden’s presidency and feel disillusioned by unmet campaign promises. Disenchantment with Democratic leaders is not unique to young Black voters and has been expressed by a record number of Black Americans across ages and genders.

Despite frustrations, older Black voters continue to support Democratic candidates, emphasizing the importance of preventing Republicans from reclaiming power. Efforts are underway to engage young Black voters, including increased direct contact, targeted ads, and enlisting celebrities and local Black elected officials as surrogates. However, concerns persist among Black community leaders, with a focus on addressing disaffected younger voters and the policy issues that matter to them.


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