Poll: Black Loyalty to Democrats on Decline

While Democrats running for office frequently get 90 percent of the black vote, a new poll suggests that African-Americans' loyalty to the Democrats might be on the wane.

A poll released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Tuesday concluded that young blacks are growing more politically independent and less likely to identify with the Democratic Party.

This doesn't necessarily indicate good news for the Republican Party, however. African-Americans showed an overwhelming seven-to-one preference for Democrats over Republicans when asked who they wanted in control of Congress, according to the study. And this year, Republicans ran only nine black candidates in congressional races, down from a high of 24 in 2000.

However, while the poll finds 63 percent of African-Americans identified themselves as Democrats, that number is down 11 percent from 2000, the last time the poll was taken.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a non-partisan think tank founded in 1970 by black intellectuals, professionals and elected officials, according to its Web site. During its early years, much of the Joint Center's work consisted of providing training and technical assistance to black elected officials; today it generates research on politics, government and international policy.

In a June report, the study examined some of the differences between young and old black elected officials, and suggests some reasoning for the change in the voting pattern, as well.

"The views of younger [black elected officials] are shaped by different experiences than their older counterparts. Many of them were born after the civil rights movement and less than half of the younger BEOs surveyed were members of civil rights organizations," claimed the report, titled "Changing of the Guard."

"In addition, they were less likely to have attended historically black colleges or segregated high schools," it said. "In the poll, younger BEOs also expressed greater dissatisfaction with their local public schools, were more supportive of school vouchers, and tended to be more pro-business."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.