Georgia primary does not show increase in African American support for Trump

About 95% of Black voters in Georgia have cast a Democratic ballot in the past three presidential primaries
Poll worker, Florence Lawrence keeps an eye on the polling place at the Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (John Spink /

Credit: John Spink/AJC

Credit: John Spink/AJC

Poll worker, Florence Lawrence keeps an eye on the polling place at the Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (John Spink /

Nearly 200,000 Black voters participated in Georgia’s March 12 presidential primary, with 95% of those voters choosing a Democratic ballot, according to an analysis of voter turnout data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The overwhelming support for Democrats either contradicts claims by former President Donald Trump that he is gaining support from Black voters or those voters failed to turn out to vote in the primary.

Speaking to the Black Conservative Federation in February, Trump claimed his indictments made him popular among Black voters.

“I got indicted. … A lot of people say that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against,” Trump said to the South Carolina audience.

Trump’s claims of increased appeal to Black voters appeared to be consistent with the most recent polls from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times, which suggest that 20% of Black voters would vote for Trump in the general election. But in Georgia’s March 12 presidential primary, only 5% of Black voters cast a ballot in the Republican primary. The partisan breakdown parallels previous presidential primaries — in both 2020 and 2016, roughly 95% of Black voters voted in the Democratic primary, indicating no major shift in Black voter behaviors yet.

“This idea that Trump is making these huge gains among minority voters, to me, it sort of defies the laws of physics,” said Alan Abramowitz, professor emeritus of political science at Emory University. “There’s no evidence that anything is changing. Maybe in November we’ll suddenly see something different, but I’m skeptical.”

Since the mid-1960s, no Republican presidential candidate has won more than 13% of the Black vote, Abramowitz said. He said a 20% win from Trump would be unprecedented, but it’s still possible the former president could increase his share of the Black vote. From 2016 to 2020, Trump gained 1 percentage point of the Black vote in Georgia during the general election, according to exit polling by ABC News.

Other political scientists predict that the concern for Democrats will not be Trump winning over Black voters, but Black voters not turning out for President Joe Biden. If there are not enough Black voters casting Democratic ballots overall, then turning out 90% of the Black vote in the general election could still result in a loss for Biden.

“Turnout is the bigger concern, not persuasion and conversion”, said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of the Black Voters Matter Fund, an organization dedicated to increasing civic engagement in predominantly Black communities in Georgia and other states.

“Look at the Republican strategy, their strategy is to make it harder to vote,” he said, in reference to Georgia’s 2021 voting law to limit the availability of ballot drop boxes. “Their only hope is to have lower Black turnout.”

In the 2024 primary, 8% of Black voters turned out. This turnout is lower than the 33% in the 2020 presidential primary and 15% in 2016. However, turnout in this year’s primary was generally lower with noncompetitive races for each party.