Recent polls done by AP/Ipsos Public Affairs/AOL do not paint a pretty picture regarding the current disposition of black voters toward the state of the country and toward the Republican Party.
Fifteen percent of blacks, as compared with 29 percent of the general population, say that the country is on the right tract. Eighty-one percent of blacks, and 66 percent of the general population, say we're on the wrong track.
When it comes to President Bush, only 12 percent of blacks approves of the job he is doing, versus 37 percent of the overall population, and 86 percent, versus 60 percent of the general population, disapproves.
Congress, in contrast, gets 17 percent approval and 79 percent disapproval from blacks, compared to 25 percent approval and 52 percent disapproval from the general population.
The intensity of black negativity makes the overall dour mood of the general voting population look almost sunny.
Thin support for Republicans among blacks is hardly news. But it appeared in the presidential election in 2004 that Republicans were making inroads with black voters. Support for President Bush had jumped four percentage points over the 2000 election and other polls were showing increasing identification by blacks with the Republican Party.
It looks like gains that may have been made by Republicans with blacks have been lost. So is a Republican big tent that includes blacks a pipedream? Certainly not. But more on this later.
Two major themes driving attitudes are the economy and the war in Iraq.
Regarding the former, prevailing negativism, among blacks and among the general population, is anomalous.
By every measure _growth, productivity, interest rates, inflation, unemployment, the stock market _today's economy is terrific. Yet poll after poll, by margins as large as 20 percent, show preferences for Democrats to be running the economy.
Vice President Cheney, in an interview with Cal Thomas, after noting the undeniably outstanding economic statistics, asked "How much better do we have to make it before people say, 'Yes, that's pretty good?' "
In a recent survey done by the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of whites said they are in good to excellent shape financially, while only 30 percent of blacks felt this way.
Who can possibly question the daily challenges of making a living, and that, on average, blacks continue to lag behind. However, the relevant political issue is getting a realistic perspective on what the government can do to improve anyone's personal economic reality.