Today, the African American Research Collaborative released the findings from a new non-partisan poll of African American voter intensity and enthusiasm.

The 20-minute poll of 1200 African American voters across the country, with oversamples in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada, is a joint project of the AARC and Latino Decisions and was funded by State Voices. The poll definitively answered whether African Americans are voting in the post-Obama world and what is motivating their vote, while also addressing key concerns on policing, race-relations, government trust, and voter suppression. There has not been a similar large-scale in-depth poll of African American voters this cycle.

“Despite a decline in enthusiasm compared to four years ago as well as dissatisfaction with candidates and campaigns on both sides this election season, African Americans told us loud and clear that they intend to exercise their franchise in 2016,” said Roger Vann, Executive Director of State Voices. “Most feel it is more important to vote this year compared to 2012. They understand that the stakes are high for the Black community and they believe government at all levels has a responsibility to address their issues,” added Vann.

Among the key findings, which can be found here, were that while voter enthusiasm might be down, a majority of African Americans think it is more important to vote in 2016 than it was in 2012 with 93% of respondents saying they plan to vote if they haven’t early voted already.

“This poll indicates that African Americans are essential to moving a progressive agenda. Black support for progressive immigration reform was remarkably high with 90% support. Black support for marriage equality for the LGBTQ community climbed 11 points over the last four years to 68%. But, the issue that resonated across the board for all ages of African American voters was the need for criminal justice reform,” said Henry Fernandez, CEO of Fernandez Advisors and a member of the AARC.

The poll also asked respondents what were the key issues that the next President must address. Jobs and the economy were the top issue with 44%, followed closely by the need to address Criminal Justice reform and Education reform at 27%.

Finally, the poll tested which messengers carried the most effective and persuasive messages throughout this campaign cycle. Michelle Obama topped the list of messengers with President Obama a close second. The Black Lives Matter movement rounded out the top three.

 The African American Research Collaborative is a collaborative of pollsters, scholars, researchers, and commentators committed to bringing an accurate understanding of African American civic engagement to the public discourse. They can be found at www.AfricanAmericanResearch.us