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2020 BWR/Essence Report

October 14, 2020 (Washington, DC) – On October 14th, the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), an intergenerational public policy network formed by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and ESSENCEthe number one media company dedicated to Black women,released their 6th annual “Power of the Sister Vote” poll.  According to its creators, the poll is designed to “gauge the political concerns, attitudes and opinions of Black women across the country.”

Poll results have previously been announced during the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference.

However, this year’s results were delayed in order to capture insights on the impact of COVID-19 and attitudes on the historic nature of having a Black woman on a national ticket.

Similar to prior BWR/ESSENCE polls, the survey shows that political involvement among Black women continues to remain strong.  However, the 2020 poll reveals that by a much wider margin than 2019, the single biggest issue Black women feel is a significant threat to U.S. Democracy is “Racism/Rise in Hate Crimes.”

The 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll shows that:

  • Black women are overwhelmingly concerned about survival, safety and stability when it comes to issues impacting Black communities.

  • The overall top three issues Black women believe are adversely impacting US Democracy are Racism/Rise in Hate CrimesCorruption in Government; and Voting Rights/Voter Suppression Tactics.
  • Black women identify “reducing structural/systemic racism” and “policing and criminal justice reform” as the top two issues they want presidential candidates to commit to addressing to win their vote, followed by “Eradicating COVID-19” and “Protecting the safety net (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security).”

The poll also shows if the 2020 Presidential Election were held today, Black women would overwhelmingly favor the Biden/Harris Ticket (90%). Respondents gave the current president a failing grade for the fourth straight year (80%).

Black women’s confidence in the Democratic Party dropped slightly and remains greatly impacted by generational divides. Still, the majority of Black women in all age groups agree that Democrats best represent their interests, with 87% of Black women 55 & over, 58% of Black women 25-35, and 60% of Black women 18-24 indicating as such.

Regarding their voting plan, Black women are especially likely to Vote by Mail/Absentee ballot (41%) or Vote Early in Person (35%). 

Additionally, the survey reveals higher levels of voter enthusiasm due to the Supreme Court hanging in the balance.

According to Melanie L. Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, “The 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll is a reflection of the activity we are seeing on the ground.  Black women have continually shown their commitment to advocacy and voter protection all over the country.  This is the third year in a row that the Rise in Racism and Hate Crimes has registered as a top concern.  Over the past three years we have seen a shift from more aspirational concerns to those rooted in survival and security.  The disproportionate impact of the pandemic and the racial reckoning taking place all over the nation has solidified this trend.”

“There is absolutely no question of the power of Black women in driving major social and community change – and Election 2020 is no different as one of the most important ever for Black women and communities in the United States, especially in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, economic instability, police brutality, social unrest and more as Black women focus on keeping our families healthy, safe and prosperous,” said Caroline Wanga, Interim CEO ESSENCE Communications, Inc“With our multi-platform coverage at the cusp of one of the most historic elections in our lifetime—including a regular column and our new digital cover featuring vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris and the stories of the Black women leading the Harris-Biden campaign, ESSENCE’s partnership with Black Women’s Roundtable for the annual Power of the Sister vote is more critical than ever as we continue our work to ensure that the strong voices of Black women are listened to, amplified and heeded regarding the issues of most importance to us.”

*The 2020 Power of the Sister Vote survey was conducted via an online poll by ESSENCE and BWR. Click here or a copy of the 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll Results, and Essence.com.


National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
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