Priorities USA and Color of Change PAC Release Further Research on Unregistered African-American Millennials

January 23, 2018

January 23, 2018

Priorities USA and Color of Change PAC Release Further Research on Unregistered African-American Millennials

Washington — Last week, Priorities USA and Color of Change PAC released a memo detailing months of research into the political concerns of African-American millennials, a group that is vital to the future success of the Democratic Party. Today, Priorities and Color of Change PAC are releasing in-depth findings on a key subgroup of the initial survey: African-African millennials who are currently not registered to vote but who say they would be open to registering in the near future.

Despite their cynicism and lack of engagement with politics, the research indicates that more than half of this unregistered cohort are mobilization targets for Democrats in 2018 and 2020. Indeed, there is much reason to believe that these unregistered young African-Americans can and will become engaged in the process if Democrats can show them that Democratic policies will help their lives directly. While 53% already believe that the Democratic Party represents their interests, a full 42% say neither political party represents them. In order to win over these potential voters, Democrats should note the following findings:

  • The unregistered cohort shares with the larger group of African-American millennials a strong belief that their community is under attack and that racism is a big problem in the country today. Messages about mass incarceration and police brutality against African-Americans resonated deeply with these potential voters, as did an appeal to the need for criminal justice reform.
  • However, the unregistered cohort places a significantly stronger focus on issues around economic opportunity and advancement than African-Americans in their age group who are registered to vote.
  • Presented with a list of 15 policy positions for a candidate running for office and asked to identify the three most important, the number one pick was a candidate who “will fight to create jobs and raise wages, including among minorities and young people, and in disadvantaged neighborhoods.”

According to the survey, unregistered African-American millennials skew younger and more heavily male than the group in general. Additionally, fewer in the unregistered cohort have a four-year college degree and report working full time. Other notable findings include:

  • 75% of the unregistered cohort agree with the statement that “no matter who wins an election, very little in my life or in my community ever seems to change.”
  •  72% of the cohort agree with the statement that “now more than ever, it’s important for young African-American people to get out and vote, since many people out there—including those in power—are trying to take our rights away.”
  • When forced to choose whether they agreed with a cynical statement about politics and a more energizing and motivating message, 57% of the cohort opted for the positive message.

“Democrats’ mission in 2018 must be to develop and run on a positive, empowering message that resonates with both young African-Americans and every other voter we need to get to the polls in order to win,” said Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA. “Our research makes clear that we need to commit to a large-scale voter registration effort and the hard work of engaging these potential voters in the political process. Young African-Americans want to hear how we plan on expanding economic opportunity for their community and fighting the scourge of systemic racism—and we have to make sure we’re telling them from now until November.

“This research shows that we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Black millennial engagement,” said Rashad Robinson, spokesperson for Color of Change PAC. “42% of unregistered Black millennial voters say that neither party represents them. That’s a problem with a very clear solution: we need to ensure that the concerns of Black millennials are reflected in the political platforms of candidates running for offices across the country. Despite having every reason to be disenchanted with politics and the political process, unregistered Black millennials remain aspirational and committed to protecting and empowering their families and communities.”

To read Priorities USA and Color of Change PAC’s memo in full, click here.