Former Vice President Joe Biden is the leading choice of 48% of all black voters seeking to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to a national Washington Post-Ipsos poll

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders comes in second at 20% among African American voters. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a distant third in the election survey, at 9%, with all other presidential wannabes trailing in the lower single digits.

“The results, highlighting the views of a group that historically has played a significant role in determining the outcome of the Democratic nominating contest, help to explain the enduring strength of Biden’s candidacy,” the Post reported earlier this week.

“Despite questions about his age, his past positions on forced school busing and his relationships with Southern segregationist senators, the poll showed that 48% of black Democrats favor him for the nomination, a 28-point advantage over Sanders.”

“Biden is the candidate who can get this country back on track, because we are way out of control,” said Eula Woodberry, a retired school district budget analyst in Dallas. “He’s levelheaded. I think he’s experienced, and I think he will look at the big picture. ... He’s the type of person who can serve as the nucleus to bring people back together,” she told the Post.

Edward Phillips, 52, a former legal assistant who lives in New York City, called Biden a “known face,” adding, “You know he was vice president under (President Barack) Obama. You know his experience. I trust him. I believe him. I think he’s the only person among the Democrats who can defeat Trump,” he told the Post.

The survey of black voters was conducted “among 1,088 non-Hispanic black adults, including 900 registered voters, drawn from a large online survey recruited through random sampling of U.S. households.”

“Trump performs poorly among black voters when matched against any potential Democratic nominee,” the Post said.

“A majority of Democratic-leaning blacks (57%) say the most important thing they are looking for in a Democratic nominee is a likelihood of beating Trump. One-third say they want someone closest to them on issues, and 9% say they are looking for the candidate who has the strongest personal character. Biden leads on all of those.”

“On the question of which Democrat has the best chance to defeat Trump in November, Biden is cited by 53% of African American Democrats, compared with 18% who name Sanders.”

There are many political factors driving the black vote for Biden, but one especially: Former president Barack Obama chose Biden as his running mate, and he was critical in helping to put Obama over the top.

The Post/Ipsos poll of black voters found that one-third of blacks had confidence Biden would “best handle issues” that were most important to them.

Notably, the survey found that Biden’s service under the nation’s first black president will give him entree to many black voters.

Among black Democrats, 56% say that makes them much more likely to support Biden this year for the 2020 nomination.

A stunning 71% of black voters said that they were “absolutely certain to vote.”

The Post-Ipsos poll was conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, 2020, with a margin of sampling error or plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Could this be the year when the deciding factor in a presidential election contest is black voters in key electoral states?

If enough of them turn out in a close race, it could be.

Donald Lambro has been covering Washington politics for more than 50 years as a reporter, editor and commentator.

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