John P. Avlon of the New York Sun identifies signs that African—Americans are gradually de—coupling from their 90% support of the Democrats. As with so many political movements, this one is more visible at the local level.
the diversification of the black community economically and politically is changing the landscape. One recent sign of this is the surprising amount of support for Mayor Bloomberg among African—American voters. In a city where local elections have too long been defined by ethnic algebra, Republicans have had a hard time winning over black voters. But Mr. Bloomberg has made an appeal to African—Americans a cornerstone of his re—election bid, while straining to show his independence from the national Republican Party. A recent WNBC/Marist poll showed the mayor receiving 50% support from black voters in a race against Fernando Ferrer with the election five weeks away.
The longer term demographic trend may also be working in the GOP's favor:
According to a paper titled "The Political Orientations of Young African Americans" by David A. Bositis published in the journal Soul, this year, underwritten by the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, one quarter of African American voters under the age of 35 now identify as political independents, in contrast to 10% of senior citizens. The growing trend is broad as well as deep — in 1998 only 5% of African—American voters between the age of 51 and 64 identified as independents, but by 2002 that number increased fourfold to 21%.
Ed Lasky 10 0405