FACT CHECK: Did Charles Barkley Say ‘Poor People Have Been Voting Democrat For 50 Years And They’re Still Poor’?

Charlese Freeman | Contributor

A post shared on Facebook claims former NBA player Charles Barkley said “poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years… and they’re still poor.”



Verdict: Misleading

While Barkley said the last part of the quote, his exact quote was “Black people have been voting Democrat their whole lives, and they’re still poor.”

Fact Check:

The Facebook post includes a photo of Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Barkley, along with a quote he allegedly said about how poor people have voted Democrat for decades, but are still poor.

While Barkley didn’t say the exact quote, he did say something similar years ago. In an August 2015 interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Barkley was asked his thoughts on the 2016 presidential election and voting Republican. (RELATED: Fact Check: Did Black Support For Trump Double In One Year?)

“Neither one of these parties is doing a thing for poor people,” Barkley said. “They’re both full of it. You know black people have been voting Democratic their whole life and they’re still poor. And the Republicans don’t do anything for poor people, either.”

An internet search turned up no record of Barkley making the exact comment the post claims. Barkley does not appear to have verified social media accounts where he would have made the comment, “Poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years.”

Black voters have consistently supported Democratic candidates for the past 40 years, according to the Pew Research Center, with 83 percent of black registered voters leaning toward or identifying as Democrat in 2018 and 2019. Republican candidates for president have not received more than 15 percent of the black vote since 1976, Forbes reported.

The poverty rate for black Americans was 20.8 percent in 2018 and 18.8 percent in 2019, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. Exit polls from the 2020 presidential election published by The New York Times show 35 percent of voters surveyed had a total family income of less than $50,000 in 2019. Of those, 55 percent voted for President Joe Biden while 44 percent voted for former President Donald Trump.

Charlese Freeman



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