LOS ANGELES – With many citing the economy as the most important issue for the 2012 presidential election, Loop21.com, a leading digital source of emergent Black culture, and a coalition of top black civic, entertainment and media organizations, conducted The State of the Black Economy (SOBE) survey, a study of African American public opinion on the issue.   The study, conducted from July 9 th to July 27 th, tapped into a panel of more than 5,000 regular African American visitors to the Loop21.com website.

According to polling results released today, Loop21.com’s African American panel respondents are more pessimistic about the national economy than they are on their own personal finances, however, 86% approve of President Obama’s performance on the economy. While overall the president’s economic job approval number have been hovering around the mid to low 40s; African Americans see him as doing much better than the public at large.  The panel respondents tend to blame the current economic problems on former President George W. Bush, Wall Street, and Congress, more so than President Obama.  Panel respondents also tend to think that President Obama’s race influences the public criticism he receives when people speak about his economic job performance.

When panel respondents who disapproved (14%) of the President’s performance on the economy were asked who could do better than President Obama the most common response suggested no one.  The second most common response among disapproving respondents was that a Democratic Congress could do better.  The distant third most common response (9%) was a third-party Presidential candidate.  The list of responses—panel respondents could only check one—included a Republican President (1%), the Republican Congress (<1%), a Democratic other than Obama (6%), a Democratic Congress (20%), a non-Democrat or non-Republican president (9%), a different African American (1%), none of the above (44%), and unsure (17%).

Asked specifically about how much President Obama “cares about the needs of Black people” compared to “past presidents” and compared to “former President Bill Clinton,” respondents said that Obama cared more than past presidents, but equal amounts said he cared “the same” as or “more” than former President Clinton.

Panelists also offered opinions about job policy priorities. When asked about the issue of jobs in the United States, a majority of panel respondents say job creation should be more important than reducing the deficit and that tougher immigration enforcement would not lead to more job opportunities. The panel respondents were split on the issue of whether tax decreases for business would stimulate job growth.  Panel respondents also preferred “issue targeted” policies over “race targeted” policies.

On the issue of race, (70%) of the panel respondents see “African Americans” as sharing more common experiences than “Americans” in general, (55%).  The survey also found that panel respondents perceive more racial bias for other African Americans than they experience in their own daily lives; yet, list “workplace discrimination” among their greatest concerns for job security.

Racial perceptions influenced African Americans panel respondents’ assessment of criticism leveled at President Obama.  The overwhelming majority of respondents hold the view that all “Americans” and “African Americans” hold President Obama to a “higher standard than other presidents.”  When asked why, nearly 9 out of 10 responded that both “Americans” and “African Americans” hold President Obama to a higher standard “because of his race”.

The findings from the 2012 “State of the Black Economy” (SOBE) study, which took place from July 9 th through July 27 th, reflect the collective self-reported views of over a thousand African American panel respondents.  The panel is a diverse mix of individuals across a range of demographics.  For more information on the results, go to www.Loop21.com/politics/sobe-2012-stats.  Loop21.com commissioned the survey in an effort to better understand the economic priorities of African Americans and the perceptions behind the racial disparity that exists in today’s economy.