The Corner

Race and Presidential Approval

The L.A. Times highlights the latest Gallup numbers on President Obama, leading with Obama’s rock solid 91 percent approval among African Americans even as his broader approval rating is stuck at 44-45 percent.

I recall last year, when the president’s ratings were still north of 50 percent, some fuss on the Right was made about his approval among blacks being out of whack with his overall numbers, and the usual charges of racism were slung around with typical carelessness. But this is a difficult issue. The suggestion that Obama wasn’t really popular in 2009 if you took black approval out of the equation at least sounded dangerously like the suggestion that Obama wouldn’t be as popular if there simply were no black people. And that’s not cool.

But I do think it is a perfectly legitimate question to ask where Obama’s approval numbers would be if his approval among blacks changed in the same way his overall approval has — in other words, to ask, what if black approval for Obama responded to Obama’s policies the same way overall approval has?

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