In a first, black voter turnout surpassed white turnout in 2012
High black voter turnout, plus a lower turnout from white voters, gave President Obama the edge in swing states and a victory in 2012, signaling the importance of minority voters going forward.
For the first time, black voters went to the polls at a higher rate than white voters on Election Day 2012 – a shift that gave President Obama the margin of victory he needed to win the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and, as a result, a second term.Skip to next paragraph
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Had all racial groups turned out at the same rate as they had in 2004 or '08, Mitt Romney would have won the election, according to a new analysis of census data and exit polling by the Associated Press.
“The 2008 election was the first year when the minority vote was important to electing a US president. By 2024, their vote will be essential to victory,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, who analyzed the data.
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For the next decade, whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups, but by 2024, 1 in 3 voters will be nonwhite, according to the AP analysis, released Monday.
During the 2012 campaign, politicos and pundits argued about whether the minority vote was the key to winning the election. Of all eligible voters in the US, 71 percent are white, 12 percent are black, 11 percent are Hispanic, 4 percent are Asian, and 2 percent other. But the number of minority voters matters less than their turnout rate, Dr. Frey told the Monitor in September.
“It depends on what degree minority voters’ enthusiasm and turnout balances the white voters’ enthusiasm and turnout,” Frey said.
Overall voter turnout declined from 62 percent in 2008 to 58 percent in 2012. White voters cast 72 percent of the total votes in 2012, down from 74 percent in 2004. That lower turnout rate accounted for 2 million to 5 million fewer white voters at the polls in 2012.