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Poll: Pete Buttigieg is satisfactory to just 27% of Black Democrats

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  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is satisfactory to only 27% of black Democrats, according to Insider polling from this fall.
  • That figure spells trouble for the candidate, as his fellow frontrunners in the race all poll considerably higher than him among the demographic.
  • For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders is satisfactory to 55.1% of black voters, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren is satisfactory to 53.6%. Former Vice President Joe Biden eclipses all of them, with 66.3% approval among black voters.
  • That 27% figure spells trouble for Buttigieg’s campaign prospects, as black voters are a cornerstone of the Democratic voting block and crucial to winning the nomination.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg may be leading in some of the latest 2020 polls, but he’s punching far below his weight when it comes to his approval rating among black Democrats, according to recent Insider polling.

It’s no secret that Buttigieg has struggled to gain traction with that demographic. He has faced a number of setbacks during his campaign, including a controversy over the fatal police shooting of a black man in his hometown, and outrage over remarks he made in 2011 about minorities and education. 

In fact, Buttigieg is far less appealing to black voters in comparison with the other Democratic frontrunners. All of Buttigieg’s main competitors are performing roughly twice as well among the demographic.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is satisfactory to 55.1% of black voters, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren is satisfactory to 53.6%. Former Vice President Joe Biden eclipses all of them, with 66.3% approval among black voters.

Buttigieg, meanwhile, is satisfactory to only 27% of black voters.

Chart of how candidates are polling based on race of voters


Insider Data


Several other candidates have lower approval rates among black voters — entrepreneur Andrew Yang scores 26%, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at 20%, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar is satisfactory to just 15.1% — but none of those candidates have consistently polled as high as Buttigieg among Democratic voters overall.

That 27% figure spells trouble for Buttigieg, as black voters are a cornerstone of the Democratic voting block. The New York Times reported last month that no recent Democrat has won the party’s nomination without winning over majorities of black voters.

Buttigieg has sought ways to improve his standing among black voters — one of his biggest outreach efforts so far has been with the release of his so-called “Douglass Plan” to address systemic racism in areas such as policing, education, and the health care system.

Yet even that effort may have been bungled by his staff. Last month, Buttigieg’s campaign was accused of falsely saying that prominent black leaders in South Carolina had endorsed both the Douglass Plan and Buttigieg himself.

To get a large sample size — 547 African American adults who said they were registered to vote and would participate in the Democratic primary — this polling encompasses 12 polls run among American adults between September and December. The figure also holds when looking only at the most recent four polls: just 27% of Black respondents aware of Buttigieg are satisfied with him as nominee. 

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