Thursday, April 06, 2006

Poll Finds Steele May Be Magnet for Black Voters

The WaPo says:[hat tip Protein Wisdom]

An internal document prepared by a top Democratic strategist warns that a majority of African American voters in Maryland are open to supporting Republican Senate candidate Michael S. Steele and advises the party not to wait to “knock Steele down."

The 37-page report says a sizable segment of likely black voters—as much as 44 percent—would readily abandon their historic Democratic allegiances “after hearing Steele’s messaging."

“Governor Ehrlich and [Lt. Gov.] Michael Steele have a clear ability to break through the Democratic stronghold among African American voters in Maryland,” says the March 27 report by Cornell Belcher, polling consultant for the Democratic National Committee, which bases its findings on a survey of 489 black voters in Maryland conducted last month.

The report, given to The Washington Post this week, drills into a topic that has emerged as a key focus of this year’s U.S. Senate contest in Maryland: race.

In 2002, Steele became the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland, and he has designed his Senate campaign to cut into the black support that has traditionally flocked to Democrats.

More than a half-dozen Democrats are vying for the open seat being vacated by Paul S. Sarbanes (D), including the former head of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume.

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