Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), today announced the results of a national poll commissioned by Zogby Analytics that reveals current African American sentiment on a range of issues that include the state of national affairs, race relations, employment, and a variety of current political and social issues. Johnson announced the results of the Zogby poll during his remarks today at a National Press Club Luncheon.
“I commissioned this poll for a number of reasons,” said Johnson. “First, for African Americans, this country has experienced the most historic political event and that is the election and re-election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Because of this, I wanted to find out how African Americans today feel about Obama’s presidency and equally important, if they feel that their lives are better off having lived under the first four years of Obama and the prospect of an Obama Administration for the next four years,” he continued.
“Second, the country has experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and African Americans have been the hardest hit. Today, African Americans continue to have double the rate of unemployment and less access to capital, and whereas, African Americans were once the largest ethnic minority group and the dominant minority political voice, they are now confronted with the growing political influence of the Hispanic population, which may directly impact competition for jobs and minority business opportunities,” he continued.
“Further, I wanted to create a discussion within the Black community and the broader community to bring to the forefront of public debate key issues of primary concern to African Americans. I am pleased to say that I am intrigued by the results of the poll and I believe better informed,” he noted.
The poll reveals that African Americans have an immense sense of pride in Barack Obama as President of the United States and he is unequivocally liked. He receives a 91% favorable rating. Seventy-two percent believe that President Obama’s election has helped them while only 4% believe his election has hurt them.
African Americans believe that President Obama’s election has helped them. A majority of those polled – 62 percent – are optimistic about employment in the next four years.
On the issue of employment, the poll reveals that thirty percent of respondents believe they are doing better off financially than compared to four years ago; however, the most recent jobs report shows an ongoing high rate of unemployment within the African American community. When polled on why African Americans believe Black unemployment is consistently double that of whites, responses include: failure of the education system for minorities, lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities, and a failure of government policies for hiring practices.
The poll was conducted by John Zogby and Zogby Analytics. One thousand and two randomly selected African American adults were polled by telephone and online survey. The complete survey results and remarks from today’s National Press Club Luncheon can be found online at www.rljcompanies.com/news.