Monday, April 29, 2013

Blacks vote more actively than whites for the first time

A voter (R) looks over his ballot as he participates in early voting at a polling place in Charlotte, North Carolina October 27, 2012. (ReutersChris Keane)  
For the first time in US history, the black voter turnout rate surpassed that of whites in the 2012 election. If black turnout had been the same as the 2004 election, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency.

The rate of minorities who participated in the November election was historic and largely affected the outcome of the vote, according to a new analysis conducted for the Associated Press.

Preliminary data shows that African Americans represent 13 percent of all votes cast in 2012, even though they only make up 12 percent of the total population. President Barack Obama was reelected by a margin of 5 million, but would have narrowly lost to Romney without the high turnout of black voters.

The overall voter turnout was 58 percent, which is down from the 62 percent that cast their ballots in 2008 and the 60 percent that did so in 2004. And while the overall turnout decreased, black and minority voter turnout rates increased.

"The 2012 turnout is a milestone for blacks and a huge potential turning point," Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University, told AP. "What it suggests is that there is an 'Obama effect' where people were motivated to support Barack Obama. But it also means that black turnout may not always be higher, if future races aren't as salient."

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