Black delegates at GOP convention decline 78 percent

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After seating a record number of African American delegates in 2004, last week’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. had the lowest Black representation in 40 years, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

After seating a record number of African American delegates in 2004, last week’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. had the lowest Black representation in 40 years, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Blacks and the 2008 Republican Convention, a guide released last week by the nonpartisan research institution that focuses on minority issues, said that African Americans will comprise only 1.5 percent of the total number of GOP delegates, substantially below the record setting 6.7 percent in 2004.

The 36 Black delegates in 2008 represent a 78.4 percent decline from the 167 Black delegates at the 2004 GOP convention.

Based on extensive polling and analysis of African American voters nationwide, the Joint Center’s guide, while noting Sen. John McCain’s efforts to reach out to Black organizations such as the NAACP and the National Urban League outlined the difficulties he will have running against the first African American to secure a major party nomination.

“John McCain is very likely to receive a historically low share of the Black vote,” the guide says, adding that this is not attributable to any experiences Sen. McCain has had representing Black constituents, but rather it is “a reflection of Senator Obama’s historic candidacy, the deep and genuine enthusiasm for him in the Black community and Senator McCain’s association with President Bush, an exceptionally unpopular figure among African Americans.”

The Joint Center has prepared similar volumes for both the Republican and Democratic conventions every four years since 1972. Written by the organization’s senior political analyst, David A. Bositis, the guides are intended to help African American convention participants carry out their responsibilities and to inform political analysis and partisan activities, as well as to enhance the understanding of trends among Black voters.

The guide includes an insert, prepared by the Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute, comparing the health care reform plans of the two major party candidates and the implications for racial/ethnic minorities.

“This guide scientifically documents the historical shift of Black voter allegiances over the past 50 years and places Black voter attitudes and preferences in the context of the pressing issues of our day,” said Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center. “We hope that delegates to the Republican National Convention will find this information useful in understanding the concerns of Black voters and how they will influence the upcoming election.”

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Copyright 2008 NNPA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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