Black Voters Reject Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg, But Embrace Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Poll Says

Black voters rated two former mayors, Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg, as the most "unfavorable" candidates in the Democratic presidential primaries, a new poll finds.

Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, pulled in the highest net unfavorability rating among registered black voters in a Washington Post-Ipsos poll released Saturday.

South Bend, Indiana's Buttigieg, who polled at zero percent among black Democratic voters, is still struggling to gain traction in the African-American community as 21 percent of respondents rated him unfavorably and 49 percent of those surveyed had no opinion at all of his candidacy.

Bloomberg's offsetting 34 percent favorability rating slighted edged out Buttigieg's 30 percent, but the former New York City mayor's longtime controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy, which he has since apologized for, has continued to drag him.

The poll also noted that Buttigieg performs worse with black voters against President Donald Trump than any other Democratic candidate. About 4-in-10 black voters said they would not vote or would vote for anyone else if Buttigieg were to become the Democratic nominee in July.

Among registered black voters who lean toward the Democratic Party, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard topped the list of of candidates that respondents said they would "definitely NOT consider supporting" for the nomination, with 23 percent standing against her. Gabbard was followed by Bloomberg with 17 percent and Buttigeig with 15 percent. Bloomberg performs slightly better than Buttigieg in a hypothetical match-up with Trump in the general election, with 62-4 comparative support.

As the Washington Post noted, 21 percent of the black adults who were surveyed said they feel "very uncomfortable" about voting for a candidate -- like Buttigieg -- who is gay. Just shy of half of black adults said they feel "comfortable," but another 20 percent acknowledged having "some reservations." By comparison, only 15 percent of black voters said they feel "very uncomfortable" voting for a billionaire and only 5 percent expressed discomfort with a white male candidate.

On the other end of the spectrum among black voters, Joe Biden continues to hold an overwhelming lead nationally. When asked "If the Democratic primary or caucus in your state were held today, for whom would you vote? Which candidate would you lean toward?", the former vice president pulled in a whopping 48 percent of support. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came in second with 20 percent, and no other candidate managed to get into double digits; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was third after receiving 9 percent.

The 769 poll respondents placed Sanders as their "second choice" should their preferred top candidate not win the nomination. Warren, Biden and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker fell in behind the Vermont senator.

A July Post and Courier-Change Research Poll of black South Carolina voters in May found Buttigieg had zero percent of support from an African-American community, which composes about two-thirds of the state's Democratic primary voting bloc. In June, Buttigieg was criticized for his handling of a South Bend town hall that forced him to leave the campaign trail and address a racially-charged police shooting of a black man. Conservative critics labeled Buttigieg "weak and overwhelmed" by the primarily black attendees.

Last May, Buttigieg's campaign blamed poor name recognition and general unawareness about his so-called "Douglass Plan" to improve black American prosperity across the U.S. The plan detailed credit scoring reforms and a boost for minority-owned businesses.

Bloomberg gave a Brooklyn, New York speech in November apologizing for his controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy that statistics showed overwhelmingly targeted minority residents of New York City. "I was wrong," Bloomberg told the Christian Cultural Center audience, The New York Times first reported. "And I am sorry."

pete buttigieg black voters bloomberg
Black voters rated two former mayors, Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg, as the most "unfavorable" candidates in the Democratic presidential primaries. JOE RAEDLE / Staff/Getty Images