By Manny Otiko | California Black Media

A new survey by the Policy Research and Practice Institute (PRPI) has some fascinating insights into African American voters in California. The survey queried more than 1,300 African American likely voters. The responses were by phone and computer.

According to the PRPI survey, African American voters still have a strong leaning towards the Democratic party. Seventy percent of responders said they voted for the Democratic Party, while only 8 percent identified as Republican. However, 17 percent of black voters said they had no party affiliation.

However, according to Shakari Byerly, lead researcher, the survey showed there was some growth among African Americans identifying with minority parties. The PRPI survey also showed that black voters may be dissatisfied with the Democratic party. In 2016, 86 percent of respondents said they were Democrats. But in the 2018 survey, that number had dropped to 72 percent. The survey also showed the majority of millenial black voters supported Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, while older black voters supported Hillary Clinton.

Byerly said this may be due to black voters feeling the party is “taking them for granted.”

Here are some other findings from the survey:
• 33 percent of black voters favored former Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the race for governor. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came in second at 16 percent. (The researchers pointed out that although more than half of the people who responded to the survey were from Los Angeles, the San Francisco-based Newsom turned out to be more popular than Villaraigosa.)
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein was ahead in the race for a U.S. Senate seat with 59 percent of the vote. Former Senate President Tempore Kevin De Leon came in at a distant second at 11 percent.
• Interestingly enough the majority of black voters did not make a choice for state superintendent. Sixty-two percent of African American voters said they were undecided.

Another important fact was black voters views on President Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent of black voters said opposing Trump was an important priority. But this was only fourth on their list. Access to mental health, expanding access to quality healthcare and reducing homelessness all ranked as more important than opposing Trump.

The PRPI survey provided some information on how African American voters get their information. Even with the growing power of the Internet, and social media in particular, television is still an important new source. More than two-third of the responders said they got their political information from television. However 42 percent of black voters said they used social media to get political news.

The poll also showed there are more African American women voters than men. Fifty-eight percent of the responders were women.

According to Byerly, this is indicative of a national trend. She pointed to Alabama where a strong turnout of black women lead to the first Democratic senator in several years.

“Black women voters have mobilized behind progressive candidates,” she said.