Congressional Quarterly has a story looking at Richard Burr's outreach to African Americans. Is it paying off?
Our data gives mixed messages. Only 16% of black voters expressed approval for his job performance on our last poll. In April 2007 we found Elizabeth Dole getting good reviews from 28% of blacks in the state . Despite that decent standing for a Republican, exit polls last fall showed Dole receiving only 1% of the black vote against Kay Hagan. So that respect she had earned from some African American voters after the first four years of her team did not end up translating into much of any support at the polls.
Our last poll found Burr getting 8% of the black vote against a generic Democratic candidate, a more standard level of support for a Republican candidate. But against Elaine Marshall he gets 17% of the black vote, against Cal Cunningham he gets 23%, against Jim Neal he gets 17%, and against Roy Cooper he gets 12%. The fact that all the potential Democratic candidates are under performing with African Americans relative to the generic ballot speaks to the fact that the eventual nominee will have to do at least some work to reach out to black voters and not just take their support for granted.
Taking everything together I don't really see any indication that Burr's current standing with black voters is strong enough to keep his Democratic opponent next year from earning 90% or more of the African American vote like most Democratic candidates do but I guess we'll see.