New poll identifies Black women’s top issues ahead of 2024

Black women are increasingly concerned about the direction of the country and the rising cost of living ahead of November’s election, a new poll has found.

The new poll, conducted by HIT Strategies on behalf of Higher Heights for America, a national organization dedicated to advancing Black women’s political power, found that though 76 percent of Black women feel their vote is powerful, 26 percent believe that their power is decreasing as the November election approaches.

Glynda C. Carr, co-founder, president and CEO of Higher Heights, attributed this to concerns over voter suppression.

“We are living in a moment where we’ve seen that we believe we live in fair elections, but we don’t,” said Carr. “I may have power, but someone is stealing my vote or suppressing my vote has to probably have some correlations to that.”

Heading into November, 58 percent of Black women identified the rising cost of living as the number one issue affecting the country.

Public safety, including gun violence, and affordable quality housing were tied at 35 percent for the second most important issue. Twenty-seven percent identified reducing racism and discrimination as a top issue.

“Many of us are always talking to Black women about democracy and voting rights, which I still think we lead with, but I think we need to be talking to Black women more and more about the economy, the cost of living,” said Joi Olivia Chaney, president and founder of J.O.I. Strategies, an organization that develops strategies for companies seeking to achieve justice, opportunity and inclusion for America’s underserved communities.

Abortion is also a galvanizing issue for Black women, the poll found. Over 40 percent of Black women said that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is “pro-reproductive freedom.”

That number held across age, education and political party. Thirty-five percent of self-identified Black Republican women voters said that a “pro-choice” label would make them more likely to vote for a candidate in the elections.

Terrance Woodbury, CEO and Founding Partner of HIT Strategies, said these numbers debunk the notion that talk of abortion should be avoided or treated sensitively in the Black community.

“Black folks know that when the government tries to mandate what can or cannot happen with our bodies that Black women are going to be disproportionately impacted by that,” said Woodbury.

Though 58 percent of Black women also feel underrepresented in politics, the poll found, most are still optimistic about the representational power they do have.

Nearly 81 percent of Black women voters believe that Black women elected officials have the power to effect change in their communities.

This hope isn’t unsurprising, said Carr, considering the strides Black women have made.

Just 10 years ago, there were only 18 Black woman serving in Congress; today, there are 31. Ten years ago, only two Black women were serving as mayors; today there are eight. There were only two statewide-elected Black women, and a decade later there are 12.

“People can feel that but also when they go back to their day to day lives, they recognize the underrepresentation in their local governments,” said Carr. “We have no black woman ever serving as governor and in our country’s history, there’s only been 11 years that a Black woman’s voice has been represented in the US Senate.”

“We are in a season that Black women are overwhelmingly serving boldly, leading in some of the most powerful elected and appointed leadership.”

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