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State of Black America & I am EMPOWERED Poll


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Prepared by: Pollster: Dr. Silas Lee, III

March 2011

Washington, DC

Published in: News & Politics
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State of Black America & I am EMPOWERED Poll

  1. 1. SUMMARY OF THE 2011STATE OF BLACK AMERICA AND I AM EMPOWERED POLL prepared by: Pollster: Dr. Silas Lee, III March 2011 Washington, DC CONFIDENTIAL & PRIVILEDGED DOCUMENT NOT FOR RELEASE OR DISTRIBUTION Copyright © National Urban League 2011 All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRYA global recession, an energy crisis and an impotent economy have dampened theonce optimistic spirits of Americans expressed two years ago. In a nationwide poll of1,100 respondents representative of this nation’s social and economicdemographics, nearly 60% believe that things in America are headed in the wrongdirection, which is in contrast to 47% in 2009. Whereas, Whites (62%) and Latinos(59%) were more likely to say that the country is headed in the wrong direction,African Americans had a split verdict on the direction of the country; 37% rightdirection and 36% wrong direction. 2
  3. 3. DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRYDirection of the Country 26% Right Direction 37% African Americans 23% Whites 25% Latinos 57% Wrong Direction 36% African Americans 61% Whites 59% Latinos 12% Mixed Direction 18% African Americans 11% Whites 8% Latinos 3
  4. 4. FINANCIAL SITUATION IMPROVING, REMAINING THE SAME OR GETTING WORSEWith a combined 81% of the respondents reporting that their financial situation hasremained the same (43%) or gotten worse (39%), the stagnation of economicmobility in the lives of respondents contributed greatly to the poignant feeling ofvulnerability. A disturbing 45% of the respondents over the age of 65 reported somedeterioration in their financial condition. Financial Situation Total African Americans Whites Latinos Improved 17% 30% 13% 21% Remained the Same 43% 36% 46% 33% Gotten Worse 39% 32% 40% 47% 4
  5. 5. JOB APPROVAL RATING AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF PRESIDENT OBAMAPresident Obamas approval rating is bolstered by solid support from AfricanAmerican respondents at 81% in comparison to 40% from Whites and 49% fromLatinos. Respondents earning more than $100,000 annually at 46% are more likelyto disapprove of the job the president is doing than households earning less than$50,000 at 56%. 49% Approve 81% African Americans 41% Whites 49% Latinos 39% Disapprove 10% African Americans 47% Whites 38% Latinos 11% Dont Know 7% African Americans 12% Whites 12% Latinos 5
  6. 6. IMPACT OF THE PRESIDENTS POLICIES ON THE ECONOMY Strongly/Somewhat Strongly/Somewhat Issues Approve DisapproveImproving the quality of public 52% 39%educationImproving the environment 58% 30%Improving access to health care 52% 45%Addressing the nations budget 44% 52%deficitCreating jobs in America 49% 47%Fighting terrorism 63% 32%Immigration reform 37% 49%Managing the wars in Iraq and 57% 39%Afghanistan 6
  7. 7. IMPACT OF THE PRESIDENTS POLICIES ON THE ECONOMYPresident Obama receives his strongest approval ratings for how he has managednational security issues (fighting terrorism 63%, managing the wars in Iraq andAfghanistan 57%), the environment 58%, and improving the quality of publiceducation and access to health care 52%.The respondents were less complimentary about his job performance on reducingthe budget (44%) and creating jobs (49%). 7
  8. 8. REDUCING THE DEFICIT OR INCREASING UNEMPLOYMENTIt is more important to reduce government Helping Americans to keep their jobs is just asspending even if it increases unemployment. important as reducing government spending.18% 77%> African Americans 9% > African Americans 69%> Whites 21% > Whites 73%> Latinos 8% > Latinos 90% 8
  9. 9. THE TOUGH CHOICES The new congressional majority says that our Other members of Congress say that our financial financial crisis is serious and we need to reduce crisis is serious and we need to reduce the national the national debt, we need to take bold, debt, but there needs to be a balance whereby people have the opportunity to be trained for immediate steps to reduce or eliminate careers in the future, create jobs even though programs and make deep cuts in government some programs and services to some families spending even though it might increase might be eliminated or reduced, and government unemployment and eliminate programs and spending is gradually reduced. 73% services to financially stressed families. 21%> African Americans 13% > African Americans 78%> Whites 24% > Whites 72%> Latinos 16% > Latinos 78% 9
  10. 10. THE TOUGH CHOICESAs President Obama and Congress braced for an epic battle over how to resolve therecurring budget deficit, more than 7 of 10 respondents were strongly supportive ofgradually reducing the budget without increasing unemployment.Although the strategy to boldly attack the deficit may sound appealing, the fragileeconomic environment strengthens support for a less dramatic approach to reducingthe deficit that will not hammer people deeper into the grave of poverty. 10
  11. 11. SUPPORT FOR THE TWELVE POINT PLAN JOBS PLANThe National Urban League has proposed a dozen proposals to address the chronicchallenges to growth and stability in underserved urban communities. Of the ninepolicy proposals tested in the survey, six received a "very/somewhat effective" scoreover 80% and reinforced the desire by residents for elected officials to aggressivelyaddress the issues of job creation and the economy. 11
  12. 12. THE TOP SIX STRATEGIES TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY IN URBAN COMMUNITIES Very/Somewhat Strategies EffectiveSell foreclosed homes to families at a reduced price 86%Initiate tax reform to reduce tax rates and loopholes 84%Reform and reauthorize the Workforce Reinvestment Actto reform and retrain workers 80%Creating urban jobs academies to train youth 80%Expand small business lending 79%Restoring the summer youth jobs program 78% 12
  13. 13. SUPPORT FOR THE TWELVE POINT JOBS PLAN Very Somewhat Not too Strategies Effective Effective EffectiveRestoring the summer youth jobs program 47% 31% 18%Creating urban jobs academies to train youth 47% 33% 16%Develop a public-private jobs initiative 29% 37% 20%Increase minority participation in information 30% 38% 24% and communication industriesReform and reauthorize the Workforce Reinvestment Act 44% 36% 14%to reform and retrain workersExpand small business lending 54% 35% 9%Initiate tax reform to reduce tax rates and loopholes 54% 30% 12%Sell foreclosed homes to families at a reduced price 41% 35% 20%Provide financial support to local non-profits to 27% 37% 32%hire personnel and provide service 13
  14. 14. SUPPORT FOR THE EMPOWERMENT GOALSThe America of the 21st century is characterized by global, social and economictransformations that overwhelm the confidence of citizens to determine their owndestiny. Thus, when asked their support of a set of goals that would restore thebelief that people can make it in America by virtue of education, opportunity, acommitted work ethic and motivation, a combined 80% "strongly/somewhatsupport" a set of goals that would empower and train disadvantaged citizens tobecome productive members of society.Support was consistent in all demographic groups, particularly with AfricanAmericans (96%), Latinos (84%) and Whites (76%). 14
  15. 15. SUPPORT FOR THE EMPOWERMENT GOALSSupport set of goals for the nation to work toward that would empower and train disadvantagedcitizens to become productive members in society. Total African Americans Whites LatinosStrongly support 47% 76% 39% 52%Somewhat support 33% 20% 37% 32%Support a little 9% 2% 10% 11%Not support at all 8% 2% 10% 4% 15
  16. 16. SUPPORT FOR EACH EMPOWERMENT GOAL Not Somewhat Support Empowerment Goals Strongly Support Support Support a Little at All 61% 19% 7% 11%Every American child is ready for college, work and lifeEvery American has access to jobs with a living wage and 67% 18% 4% 8%good benefitsEvery American lives in safe, decent, affordable and energy 55% 25% 5% 12%efficient housing on fair termsEvery American has access to quality and affordable health 64% 20% 4% 11%care solutions 16
  17. 17. THE TWO GOALS RECEIVING THE STRONGEST SUPPORT WERE: Every American has access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits 85% Every American has access to quality and affordable health care solutions 84%From a sociological perspective, the empowerment goals received strong supportbecause they represent a “human capital” initiative that will enable thosechallenged by circumstances beyond their control to overcome inequality byproviding them with the skills to become independent, responsible and productivecitizens in society. 17
  18. 18. THE COMPETITIVE AGENDAPresident Obama proposed a menu of initiatives to reduce the budget deficit,resuscitate an ailing economy and restore confidence in a weary electorate. And,once again, the message is quite clear; voters do not want to see the budgetbalanced on the backs of the most fragile citizens in society.Americans are inclined to support programs that will make citizens productive andcompetitive (recruiting more teachers to teach science, math and technology --- 87%)or create jobs (create economic growth zones in economically-depressed areas tostimulate investment and employment --- 80%) and oppose those that will eliminateeducation and training opportunities (eliminate financial assistance for collegestudents to attend summer school --- 68%) or critical services to low income families(cut funding for heating assistance to low income families --- 68%). 18
  19. 19. THE COMPETITIVE AGENDA Strongly/Somewhat Strongly/Somewhat Proposals Agree DisagreeSpending billions to connect 98% of the nation 27% 68%to the Internet on smart phones and tablet computersin five years.Investing billions in high-speed and intercity rail 44% 50%serviceCut funding for heating assistance to low income 33% 66%families to heat their homesEliminating financial assistance for college students 30% 68%to attend summer schoolSlowing spending for the military 47% 49%Recruiting more teachers to teach science, math and 87% 12%technologyFreezing the salaries of federal workers 61% 34%Creating economic growth zones in economically-depressed areas to stimulate investment and 80% 17%employment. 19
  20. 20. AWARENESS AND PERCEPTION OF THE URBAN LEAGUE Awareness of the A A Nothing Very Somewhat Somewhat Very Organization Lot Little at all Positive Positive Negative NegativeNational Urban League 25% 47% 22% 14% 34% 12% 4% 20
  21. 21. AWARENESS OF URBAN LEAGUE PROGRAMSAwareness of Urban LeaguePrograms 9%_ A Lot 20% African Americans 6% Whites 12% Latinos 23% A Little 32% African Americans 22% Whites 12% Latinos 48% Nothing at All 34% African Americans 50% Whites 58% Latinos21% do not have an Urban Leagueaffiliate in their community 21
  22. 22. AWARENESS OF URBAN LEAGUE PROGRAMSAs an organization, 72% of the respondents have heard "a lot/a little" of the UrbanLeague, but 32% have the same awareness of the programs and services provided bythe affiliates.However, nearly half (48%) have a "very/somewhat positive" perception of theUrban League, which is an equally important attribute.Half (52%) of the African Americans, 28% of the Whites and 24% of the Latinos have"a lot/a little" awareness of programs sponsored by the Urban League. 22
  23. 23. SURVIVAL ANXIETYThe America of predictability and growth has been replaced by the America of fearand instability. In this survey, more than half of all respondents indicated that theyare haunted by the constant challenges of financial obligations, caring for a familymember or experiencing an unexpected health crisis. The Two Major Concerns Concern Major/Minor Meeting monthly financial 72% expenses Caring for a family member 66% Nearly 80% or more of the African Americans (78%) and Latinos (86%) reporteddifficulty meeting their monthly financial obligations and caring for a family member(African Americans 70%, Latinos 81%) 23
  24. 24. SPECIFIC CONCERNS Concern Major Minor Not a Concern Paying the mortgage/ rent 35% 20% 44% Experiencing an unexpected 38% 24% 38% health crisis Meeting monthly financial 43% 29% 28% expenses Caring for a family member 44% 22% 35% Job security for you or spouse 39% 18% 43%As a social scientist, I am convinced the survival challenges experienced byAmericans are not just personal, but can potentially dampen the spirit of citizenshipneeded to rebuild and reinvigorate the institutions of society. 24
  25. 25. THINKING INTO THE FUTUREOptimism about their Familys Financial Future Optimism about their Familys 10% Very Optimistic Financial Future (Net total) 25% African Americans 6% Whites 44% Very/Somewhat Optimistic 7% Latinos 65% African Americans 34% Somewhat Optimistic 37% Whites 40% African Americans 44% Latinos 31 % Whites 37% Latinos 52% Very/Somewhat Pessimistic 31% Somewhat Pessimistic 28% African Americans 12% African Americans 59% Whites 36% Whites 52% Latinos 29% Latinos 21% Very Pessimistic 16 % African Americans 23% Whites 23% Latinos 25
  26. 26. SOCIAL MOBILITY IN AMERICALess social and economic The same amount of social and More social and economicinequality in society - 32% economic inequality - 31% inequality in society - 32%> Latinos 37% > Whites 34% > African Americans 39%> African Americans 32% > Latinos 29% > Latinos 33%> Whites 31% > African Americans 23% > Whites 30%> Households earning $75- > Households earning less than > Those without a high school$99,000 at 37% $75,000 at 40% diploma at 39% and college graduates/more at 36% 26
  27. 27. CONCLUSIONThe confidence Americans have in the American Dream of economic stability andsocial mobility is dampened by a pessimistic outlook for their families’ financialfuture held by 52% of the respondents. The cache of optimism expressed by AfricanAmericans (65%) about their families financial future evaporates as they envision anAmerica with more, rather than less inequality.The once impregnable belief in upward mobility has been replaced by ametastasizing cancer of doubt and insecurity. To elected officials, institutional andcommunity leaders, this is a clarion call to not just restore hope, but createenvironments for opportunity and equality. 27
  28. 28. PROFILE OF DR. SILAS LEEDr. Silas Lee has served as a pollster and strategist for a host of corporate, non-profit, public sector, political, and legal clients overthe last 24 years. His company, Dr. Silas Lee and Associates, specializes in public opinion research and communications strategies.He has also assisted attorneys in measuring the attitudes of potential jurors for multi-million dollar civil and criminal cases.Some of the institutions, companies or elected officials he has conducted research for are:• Columbia University, New York City• National Urban League --- Affiliates Census and Economic Impact Analysis, State Of Black America Poll• Pitney Bowes, Inc (In conjunction with Campbell Consulting)• American Federation of Teachers (Washington, D.C.)• Legal Consultant for Exxon and Tobacco Companies• Gaming in the Public Interest of South Africa• Harrah’s and Bally’s Casinos• Western Union (In conjunction with Bayley Consults)• Tom Joyner Foundation (In conjunction with Campbell Consulting and Third Eye Consulting)• Nike Shoes/Michael Jordan Fundamentals• Republican Institute for International Affairs – Haiti• Governors Buddy Roemer (R) and Ann Richards (D)• Democratic National Committee (1994, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006)•The many political campaigns include: the 1992 Clinton/Gore the 2000 Gore/Lieberman and the 2004 Kerry/EdwardsPresidential Campaigns, Hillary Clinton for President in 2007, mayors, congresspersons and numerous other elected officials.Dr. Lee is also the Ernest N. Morial Endowed Professor of Public Policy in sociology at Xavier University of Louisiana. He receivedhis Ph.D. and Masters degrees from the University of New Orleans and his Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University of Louisiana. 28
  29. 29. METHODOLOGYBetween March 14th and 18th 1,100 completed interviews were conducted byprofessional interviewers calling from a centralized phone bank. The sample alsoincluded a sub-sample of 200 cell phone respondents to ensure the representation ofcell phone only households.All respondents were selected from a database of adult voters and represented thesocial and economic demographics of the population according to the United Statescensus.The poll has a Margin of Error of +/- 3.3%. 29
  30. 30. SUMMARY OF THE 2011 STATE OFBLACK AMERICA AND I AM EMPOWERMENT POLL prepared by: Pollster: Dr. Silas Lee, III March 2011 Washington, DC CONFIDENTIAL & PRIVILEDGED DOCUMENT NOT FOR RELEASE OR DISTRIBUTION Copyright © National Urban League 2011 All Rights Reserved