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Sep 18, 2015

Black Women's Roundtable/ESSENCE Release Exclusive Poll on Black Women Voters and 2016 Election

Power of the Sister Vote Survey Includes Responses From Nearly 2000 Black Women of All Ages, Backgrounds

As the 2016 Presidential campaign season heats up, an exclusive Black Women’s Roundtable and ESSENCE poll shows that affordable healthcare, livable wage jobs and college affordability rank as the most important issues among African-American women.

“The top issues for Black women revolve around money and basic needs,” said Melanie Campbell, Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable and president/CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP). “The indication that affordable healthcare is a major concern aligns with our 2015 State of Black Women Report findings that among states with African-American populations exceeding 20 percent, few offer adequate health insurance coverage for Black women. We suspect this is due to the fact that some governors, especially in the South where 55% of the Black population lives, have fought against Medicaid expansion and other quality health care opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act for partisan reasons. ”

The Power of the Sister Vote Poll was launched by ESSENCE and the Black Women’s Roundtable in August 2015 to assess Black women’s priority issues for the 2016 election and understand their motivation for voting. The results were revealed at a news conference during the 45th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference.

“Black women are taking an active interest in the upcoming 2016 election and they plan to vote for a candidate who will address issues that can improve their quality of life,” said Vanessa De Luca, Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE. “We anticipate the Black women will continue to have strong voter turnout numbers and perhaps lead the nation as they have done in the last two Presidential elections.”

The Power of the Sister Vote Poll surveyed 1,862 women nationally who identified themselves as registered to vote and see voting as a responsibility. 88% of respondents would vote for President Obama in 2016 if they could. Most respondents identified the Democrats (78%) as representing their interests, 18% identified no party; 1% feel Republicans and 1% feel Libertarians represent their interests. African-American Millenials appear to be trending away from identifying with political parties—over a quarter (26%) responded they do not identify with any political party.

Black women are interested in Presidential candidates who commit to: 1) improving law enforcement/community relations, 2) reducing taxes for low and middle income people, 3) increasing the minimum wage to at least $15/hour.

Additional POSV Poll Findings include:

•Millennials who comprised 14% of the respondents, cited college affordability, quality public education and criminal justice reform as highly important.

•Other key issues identified included right to reproductive choices, expanding voting rights, earned paid time/family leave, entrepreneurship opportunity and immigration reform.

Get the poll results now


The Black Women's Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP). The BWR promotes health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, quality public education and global empowerment. BWR established its Intergenerational Policy Network in 2008, which is comprised of a diverse group of Black women civic leaders representing international, national, regional, and state-based organizations and institutions. Together, the BWR membership represents the issues and concerns of millions of Black people who live across the United States and around the world.


Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online. The company’s flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the ESSENCE Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series,, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 45 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of 14.2 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women’s lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at

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