Black Voter Enthusiasm for the Midterms Surges After Ketanji Brown Jackson Nomination

49% of Black voters express strong enthusiasm about voting this fall, up 12 points since Jackson’s nomination
March 09, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

President Joe Biden promised Black voters he would put a Black woman on the Supreme Court, and Morning Consult/Politico surveys show Black voters appear to be rewarding him for it.

Black Voters Are Becoming More Enthusiastic About the Midterms

Share of voters who said they are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the November 2022 midterm elections for U.S. Congress
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Surveys conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

The enthusiasm surge 

  • About half of Black voters (49 percent) are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections, up 12 percentage points since a survey conducted before Biden rolled out his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Feb. 25.
  • Sixty-nine percent of Black voters approve of Biden’s job performance, including 32 percent who do so strongly – up 7 points since before Jackson’s nomination.   
  • In the latest survey, Democratic voters are slightly more likely than Republican voters to express excitement about participating in the November contests, 55 percent to 53 percent, in a rarity compared with other surveys conducted this year.
  • Despite the president’s gains in job approval, congressional Democrats only have a narrow advantage, 43 percent to 41 percent, over their Republican counterparts on the generic ballot, roughly in line with their average monthly standing since November. 

The context

It’s been a busy couple of weeks featuring Biden’s Supreme Court nomination, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, so it is impossible to nail down precisely what is contributing to the improvements on two key indicators for the Democrats’ chances of holding Congress this fall – or whether the improvement is permanent. 

But previous surveys have shown Biden’s historic selection of a Black woman for a seat on the highest court in America had the potential to motivate Black voters. Among this portion of the electorate, which will be key to Democrats’ prospects this year, 55 percent said they’d seen, read or heard at least something about Jackson’s nomination, making it a relatively salient event. What’s more, enthusiasm could rise further as Jackson’s confirmation process plays out. 

The judge for the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit continues making her way through meetings with senators ahead of confirmation hearings set to begin March 21, and support for  — and opposition to — her nomination has ticked up over the past week as more Democratic and Republican voters begin to fall in line with their parties’ respective positions.

What voters say about Jackson’s nomination 

  • The share of voters who said the Senate should vote to confirm Jackson to the court increased from 46 percent to 49 percent, while the share who said it should not increased from 17 percent to 19 percent.
  • Democratic voters are about twice as likely to support Jackson’s confirmation as Republican voters are to oppose it even after notable increases on both sides over the past week. 
  • Two in 3 Black voters (67 percent) said the Senate should vote to confirm Jackson, compared with 46 percent of white voters. 

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted March 4-6, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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