port of harlem snippets

August 13 - August 26, 2004


Poll Reveals Blacks Are More Conservative

A new national poll released this week by Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC) reveals that African-Americans are more conservative than many politicians think.  During a happy-hour discussion in Southeast, Alvin Williams, President and CEO of BAMPAC, talked about the poll, the gay rights movement, public education, social security reform, the moral climate in the country, economic empowerment, sanctity of human life, and public education.

BAMPAC is one of the top 25 PACS in the country and has provided more than $1.6 million of assistance to more than 240 candidates across America.   The ten-year-old organization is nonpartisan and supports candidates based on their political agenda.   However, people generally  identify BAMPAC's positions as conservative.

"We are not part of some vast right wing conspiracy to undermine African-Americans," declared Alvin Williams, during the two-hour discussion sponsored by
Port Of Harlem magazine at Ellington's on Eighth.  While not endorsing the acceptance of discrimination, Williams said that he does not agree with those who equate the Gay Rights Movement with the Civil Rights Movement.   "I don't think it's an applicable comparison," he said.

He pointed to BAMPAC's poll to show that his viewpoint is in sync with more than 7 in 10 African-Americans questioned in the survey.  In the nationwide poll of 800 African-Americans, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent, about 7 in 10 also do not think same-sex marriages should be legal.
During the discussion, Tanya Callaway said that her party's inability to reach Black voters, particularly Blacks with conservatives leanings, frustrates her.  Charles Anglin, a self-described liberal who is pro-choice and gay rights, and supporter of public services and higher taxes for the better off,  shared Callaway's concern in an earlier statement.

"The lack of Black conservative support forces the Republican coalition to find alternative sources of support - -  that doesn't just mean scavenging for the White racist vote - -  to counterbalance Black America's overwhelming support for the Democrats," the Black London, England council member said in a recent issue of Port Of Harlem
that focused on American politics.

In the BAMPAC poll, more than 3 in 10 identified themselves as conservative.  Less than 3 in 10 identified themselves as liberal.  However, more than 6 in 10 said they were Democrats.

On the issue of school choice, BAMPAC's Williams added  "We embrace school choice from home schooling and charter schools to improving your local public high schools."  One attendee, Bobbie Pittman, added, "No school will better unless people take responsibility for their own communities."  Pittman is also a Republican candidate for a D.C. Council-At-Large seat.  In the poll, most respondents, 4 in 10, rated their public schools as average.

The poll also found that more Blacks believe that race plays a less important role in American life.  More than 4 in 10 Blacks said that education has a greater influence on their quality of life in the United States compared with more than 3 in 10 who said their income level does or about 1 in 10 that cited  race.

The poll that Wilson Research Strategies conducted also reveled that more than 7 in 10 disapproved of President Bush's performance as President.   A little more than 5 in 10 had positive feelings toward Senator John Kerry's bid for President.

For the second year, Colin Powell topped Jesse Jackson as the person with the highest favorable rating and just more than half of those polled believed that a woman should have the right to choose whether to have an abortion under all circumstances.  After the discussion, D.C. taxi driver and cable-tv show host James Caviness added,  "Blacks are more conservative than they give us credit."

Photo:  BAMPAC'S Alvin Williams listens to POH readers at Black, Conservatives, and American Politics Happy-Hour discussion at Ellington's on Eighth.

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