ATLANTA (Christian Examiner) -- In an editorial post, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain celebrated preliminary statistics from the Gallup opinion polling group that indicated fully 26 percent of adult African Americans now identify themselves as conservatives.
An ongoing survey from the research giant about ideological preferences reportedly shows a trend among Black voters which undercuts previous assumptions of unwavering allegiance to the Democratic Party among that demograpic group.
However, information from the Pew Research Center shows that conservative ideology does not always translate into Republican votes. Their data indicated 16 percent of African Americans identified themselves as Republicans in 2012, but only 6 percent voted for Mitt Romney.
Also, the number is lower than the 35 percent national average among all adults combined.
But conservatives now equal the 26 percent of Blacks who claim a liberal ideology.
The early numbers that Jim Clifton, head of Gallup, shared with Cain come as some high profile personalities also are expressing opportunity for conservatives, even pushing for it.
Stephen A. Smith, a popular ESPN commentator, recently urged "every Black person in America vote Republican" -- at least once.
"Black folks in America are telling one party, 'We don't give a damn about you,'" the African-American sports reporter told a student group at Vanderbilt University earlier this year. "They're telling the other party, 'You've got our vote.' Therefore, you have labeled yourself 'disenfranchised' because one party knows they've got you under their thumb. The other party knows they'll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest."
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican presidential hopeful, says it is a matter of conservatives asking African Americans for their votes.
"That doesn't mean that we get to a majority of African-American votes in one cycle," Rand said to Politico last year. "But I think there is fully a third of the African-American vote that is open to much of the message, because much of what the Democrats has offered hasn't worked."
If true, Rand's projection would mean a windfall for a Republican presidential nominee.
Only Sen. John McCain in 2008 has scored more poorly among African Americans than Romney since 1976 when then Sen. Gerald Ford garnered 17 percent of the Black vote for president. McCain netted only 4 percent.
Meanwhile, Cain said more Black voters are losing faith in the direction of the Democratic Party.
"We are saving the savable," Cain wrote. "And when you consider that from the same survey it showed that 41 percent of Blacks consider themselves moderate, compared to the 36 percent national average, we have a lot of upside potential as conservatives."
He says the preliminary profile from Gallup is even better than what he is hearing anecdotally from his radio audience.
"The number of Blacks who identify their ideology as conservative is higher than I expected, but it confirms the testimonial feedback I get from black people who listen to my show, visit my website or attend my speeches."
Cain said conservatives need to be on point in combatting the bombardment of "liberal messages of class warfare" that Democrats use in reaching out to the African-American community.
"The challenge for conservatives, whether elected or non-elected, is to do a much better job of communicating how conservative principles of lower taxes, smaller government and individual responsibility benefits everyone. Conservatives want people to prosper, whereas liberals want people to accept 'less bad' and more dependency on government."
Emphatically declared a "hallelujah" that "Blacks are waking up!" he explained his sentiments in no way "underappreciate White voters, Hispanics or other ethnic groups who are also waking up to the truth."
"America is waking up," he said.