Pollster: High early turnout among Black voters likely won’t flip Louisiana, but could be bad sign nationally for Trump

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – High early turnout among Black voters in Louisiana’s presidential primary likely isn’t an indication President Donald Trump will lose the state in 2020, a Louisiana-based pollster says.

But excitement among Black voters nationwide, who overwhelmingly support Democrats, could be a bad sign for the president’s reelection, said John Couvillon, founder of JMC Analytics and Polling.

About 31 percent of Louisiana’s registered voters are Black, and in the 2016 presidential primary, they made up 33 percent of the early total, he said. This year, the in-person total is 37.5 percent, he said.

Trump remains fairly popular in Louisiana, so the motivation among Black voters likely won’t tip Louisiana into the Democrats’ column in November, Couvillon said. But in states Trump carried by 5 percent or less that have a statistically significant black population, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Black turnout could be decisive.

Turnout for in-person early voting in Louisiana, which ended Saturday, was 103,071, about 30 percent higher than the in-person vote for the 2016 presidential primary, he said. Mail-in ballots, which still are being accepted until the end of the week, have numbered 76,716, compared to only 20,767 who voted by mail for the 2016 primary.

None of this is necessarily indicative of record-setting turnout in the July 11 primary or the November general election. Voting early has become more popular in general, and voters were given an extra week of in-person early voting and additional excuses to justify using mail-in absentee ballots as part of a plan to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But given that voters have known for more than three months that Trump likely will face former Vice President Joe Biden in November, the high early turnout doesn’t make sense without appreciating that there is a high level of interest in the presidential race, Couvillon said.

Counting mail-in ballots takes longer than in-person votes. Given the surge in mail-in voting that has occurred in Louisiana and many other states this primary cycle, it’s entirely possible for multiple states not to be called on Election Night if their vote is close enough for the untallied ballots to swing the state one way or another, he said.