Study by Columbia University Political Scientist Finds That, For Black Voters, Electability Trumps Ideology

Fredrick Harris, a professor of political science and director of the Center on African-American Politics and Society at Columbia University, recently completed a survey of more than 1,400 voters, more than one third of whom were African Americans.

The survey found that nearly 76 percent of African-American voters believe that electability in the general election is an important consideration when voting in primary elections. Less than 65 percent of white voters considered electability an important factor in their primary choices.

There were other interesting racial differences in political attitudes in the Harris survey. He found that 61 percent of African Americans believed it was important to balance the presidential and vice-presidential ticket by fielding candidates from different regions of the country. Only 42 percent of whites agreed that geographical diversity on the ticket is important.

Some 63 percent of black voters think it is important to balance the national ticket ideologically with both liberal and conservative or moderate viewpoints. Only 40 percent of whites agreed that ideological diversity was important.