The African American Research Collaborative

There simply is not enough quantitative or qualitative research available on the political interests, motivations or goals of African Americans. Commentators often ascribe intentions to how African Americans vote, whether they turn out to vote, and why they do either, without the data to back it up.  The truth is we know very little about one of the most important and effective voting blocs in US elections.

This lack of knowledge has ramifications.  If elected officials do not address the concerns of African Americans, this can suppress turnout.  If advocacy groups do not raise issues in ways that have meaning for subsets of the African American community, they may miss out on activating strong allies.  If reporters make assumptions about why African Americans are voting, they may miss the big story.

The African American community, like all of America, is witnessing a generational shift in who votes, who runs for office, and who rallies to change public opinion.  Young activists are many years removed from the experiences of those who lived through the civil rights movement, or even those born in its aftermath.  How do these different generations interpret demographic changes, identify with changes in LGBT rights, engage with opportunities for the undocumented, or even get their news?

At the same time, African American women have become the most effective voting group in the country.  They vote in higher percentages than any other group.  What issues do they care about, and what messengers do they trust most?  What combination of messages and messengers will inspire them to mobilize around an issue?

The African American Research Collaborative was set up to answer just these kinds of questions.  Our goal is to provide high quality research and the skill to interpret that research.  To accomplish this, we have assembled a team with expertise in polling, African American political behavior, and issues that affect us all: the economy, housing, civil rights, policing, jobs, grassroots organizing and social justice.