Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

William Tyson


demographics, party, political opinions, race, voter turnout


The politics of Blacks are stereotypically assumed to be the same and share the same race-based root, be it disenfranchisement or solidarity. Given the recent jump in Black political participation and the seemingly race-based and partisan nature "the Black vote" holds, it is essential to investigate what factors drive Black voter turnout as well as what factors contribute to the partisan nature of Black voters. Most other studies of political opinion, turnout, and party preference only consider comparable demographic groups such as men versus women or Blacks versus Whites. This study examines partisan preference and participation only among Black Americans. The data used here come from the American National Election Survey (ANES) 1984, 1996, and 2008 Pre- and Post-Election Survey, election years that coincided with peaks and lows of Black voter turnout since the Civil Rights Movement. Findings indicate that Black Democrats report higher voter turnout than Black non-Democrats, and younger Blacks and those who opposed abortion were less likely to vote. Also, results suggest that although Black partisanship can be predicted by gender, abortion stance, and age, partisanship is largely not a product of demographics or political stances based on how little variance these models account; rather, Black partisanship may be explained by aspects that go beyond these usual determinants, measures, and proxies. Implications of this study show that non-Democratic Blacks were political available to other parties, and it warrants a further investigation into Black partisanship.