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ESSENCE and Black Women’s Roundtable Release 2020 ‘Power of the Sister Vote’ Poll

Photo by Sarah Pflug
Revealing Black Women Across Generations Most Concerned About Survival, Safety and Stability Issues Impacting Black Communities


Annual Survey Reveals That Black Women Consider Racism & Hate Crimes as the Single Biggest Issue Going Into the November Election

(Black PR Wire) WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– On October 14th, ESSENCE, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and communities, and the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), an intergenerational public policy network formed by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), released their 6th annual “Power of the Sister Vote” poll. The BWR/ESSENCE Poll is conducted annually to gauge the political concerns, attitudes and opinions of Black women across the country and identify what Black women want for their vote from presidential candidates in 2020.

Poll results have previously been announced during the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference. However, this year’s results were delayed in order to capture insights on the impact of COVID-19 and attitudes on the historic nature of having a Black woman on a national ticket.

Similar to prior BWR/ESSENCE polls, the survey shows that political involvement among Black women continues to remain strong. However, the 2020 poll reveals that in a 16 point increase from 2019, the single biggest issue Black women feel is a significant threat to U.S. Democracy is “Racism/Rise in Hate Crimes.”

The 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll shows that:

  • Black women are overwhelmingly concerned about survival, safety and stability when it comes to issues impacting Black communities.
  • The overall top three issues Black women believe are adversely impacting US Democracy are Racism/Rise in Hate Crimes; Corruption in Government; and Voting Rights/Voter Suppression Tactics.
  • Black women identify “reducing structural/systemic racism” and “policing and criminal justice reform” as the top two issues they want presidential candidates to commit to addressing to win their vote, followed by “Eradicating COVID-19” and “Protecting the safety net (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security).”

The poll also shows Black women respondents overwhelmingly favor the Biden/Harris Ticket (90%), while giving the current president a failing grade for the fourth straight year (80%).

This year’s findings also showed that Black women’s confidence in the Democratic Party demonstrated a generational divide. Still, the majority of Black women in all age groups agree that Democrats best represent their interests, with 87% of Black women 55 & over, 58% of Black women 25-35, and 60% of Black women 18-24 indicating as such.

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Regarding their voting plan, Black women are especially likely to Vote by Mail/Absentee ballot (41%) or Vote Early in Person (35%).

Additionally, the survey reveals higher levels of voter enthusiasm due to the Supreme Court hanging in the balance.

According to Melanie L. Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, “The 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll is a reflection of the concerns we are hearing and seeing on the ground across the country. This is the third year in a row that Racism and Rise in Hate Crimes has registered as the top concern for Black women. Over the past three years we have seen a shift from more aspirational concerns to those rooted in survival, safety and stability. I believe the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the protests due to racial unrest calling for eradication of systemic/structural racism and policing & criminal justice reform across the nation are reflected in this year’s poll.”

“There is absolutely no question of the power of Black women in driving major social and community change – and Election 2020 is no different as one of the most important ever for Black women and communities in the United States, especially in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, economic instability, police brutality, social unrest and more as Black women focus on keeping our families healthy, safe and prosperous,” said Caroline Wanga, Interim CEO ESSENCE Communications, Inc. “With our multi-platform coverage at the cusp of one of the most historic elections in our lifetime—including a regular column and our new digital cover featuring vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris and the stories of the Black women leading the Harris-Biden campaign, ESSENCE’s partnership with Black Women’s Roundtable for the annual Power of the Sister vote is more critical than ever as we continue our work to ensure that the strong voices of Black women are listened to, amplified and heeded regarding the issues of most importance to us.”

*The 2020 Power of the Sister Vote survey was conducted via an online poll by ESSENCE and BWR. For a copy of the 2020 BWR/ESSENCE Poll Results, visit: and

The Black Women’s Roundtable is the women and girls empowerment and power building arm of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. The NCBCP is a civil rights, voter empowerment and social justice nonprofit organization that works to engage, educate, organize and mobilize Black Americans of all ages to participate fully in our democracy. Through educational programs and leadership training, the Coalition works to expand, strengthen, and empower Black communities to make voting and civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition.

About Essence Communications Inc.
Essence Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 31 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, consumer technology company merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

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