- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Sixty-five percent of black voters believe affirmative action is necessary but needs to be reformed and 52 percent feel rap music negatively influences children, according to a survey by the conservative Black America’s Political Action Committee (BAMPAC).

The survey of black voters did not solicit suggestions for revamping affirmative action programs, but it did find 62 percent favor “set-asides for minority-owned businesses and racial quotas in employment and education.”

It also found that 60 percent support creation of a system to prohibit minors from buying music with “explicit” lyrics.

“I think that [the disdain for rap lyrics] is very telling,” BAMPAC President Alvin Williams said of the recently released survey. “It would send a message to this community and the artists need to take some social responsibility.”

That sentiment has deep resonance in the black community. The Rev. Al Sharpton, presidential candidate and high-profile agitator, has called obscene rappers “lowdown, devious things who are not worth the millions of dollars young people spend to make them stars.”

Also noted in the findings:

• 80 percent of registered black voters polled last month held a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party versus 37 percent for the Republican Party;

• 42 percent identified Colin L. Powell, secretary of state, as the most influential black political figure in the United States. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was the runner-up with 21 percent;

• 51 percent would prefer to send their children to a private or charter school over a public school;

c42 percent of black voters are still undecided on their choice for president in the primary, with 67 percent saying they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

Black fidelity to the Democratic Party is deeply entrenched and has shown few signs of relenting, although surveys by other groups, including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, indicate younger blacks are less likely to vote for Democrats.

“I don’t think there is any one issue or individual that could reverse the fortunes that the Democratic Party enjoys from the African-American community,” said Mr. Williams.

“Republicans would have to use a long-term approach to challenge this stronghold, meaning issues. There is no short-term magic.”

According to the poll, 20 percent of black voters feel President Bush has earned another term.

Mr. Williams said despite the implications of some of the findings, such as the concern about rap music, implicit support of school vouchers and the need to reform affirmative action policies, typically conservative issues, they have not translated into support for the Republican Party.

Respondents deemed the economy as the No. 1 issue when deciding who they will vote for. Seventy-one percent disapproved of the way President Bush has handled the economy, a stance that has been exploited by both the Democratic presidential candidates as well as black leaders on the left such as NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and Mr. Jackson.

BAMPAC commissioned American Viewpoints to conduct the poll from June 9 through 12. The survey has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

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