Strong Black Voter Turnout Translates to Obama Win

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  • The strong showing from blacks and Hispanics at the polls on Tuesday that helped re-elect President Barack Obama and boosted several Democrats into office across the country will force the Republican Party to change its strategy in the future, says Dr. David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

    “This was not simply a re-election, but 2012 will be the last campaign where one of the major parties seeks to get elected, solely with the white vote,” Bositis said during a briefing today on the Role of African American voters. “A successful political movement will have to appeal to a broader swath other than non-Hispanic white people.”

    The 2012 election was a clear showing that America is now multi-racial, multi ethnic country, he said.

    According to the Joint Center, when Democrat John Kerry faced George W. Bush in 2004, 79 percent of American electorate was non-Hispanic white. By 2008, that percentage had dropped to 74 and this year, it was 72 percent.

    At the same time, the share of African American voters and the share of Hispanic voters increased.

    The share of African American voters has grown from 11 to 13 percent, while the share of Hispanic voters has grown from 6 to 10 percent, Bositis said.

    The success of President Obama on Tuesday, especially in swing states, can be directly attributed to strong black voter registration and turnout at the polls, Bositis said.

    President Obama won Ohio, one of the hard fought battlegrounds in 2012, by 2 percentage points. In that state, the share of black voters between 2008 and 2012 went from 11 to 15 percent, and 97 percent of all black voters in Ohio voted for Obama, according to exit reports, Bositis said. “That’s very impressive,” he said.

    The Michigan voter turnout among blacks was also impressive, according to Bositis’ analysis.

    In Michigan, blacks accounted for a 12 percent share of the vote in 2008, and in Tuesday election, blacks accounted for 16 percent of the voters, according to the Joint Center.

    The African American share of Tuesday voters in North Carolina and Florida was the same as 2008, but that point was also significant, given the fact that the number white, mostly Republican voters increased in those states in record numbers, Bositis said.

    In North Carolina, blacks accounted for 23 percent of the voters and in Florida black voters accounted for 13 percent. That means that the increases among black voters remained consistent with others, Bositis said.

    Overall, Romney defeated President Obama when it came to white voters — 59 percent to 39 percent, Bositis said.

    “In the past, having only 39 percent of the white vote would have been catastrophic for candidate in the United States,” Bositis said. “The African American vote made the difference.”

    The large turnout of black voters also boosted Democrats in other key races across the country, Bositis said.

    This was a record year for black candidates running for federal office, with 59 Democrat nominees and 13 Republican nominees. That total of 72 is the highest ever, and ensures that there will be several new members in the Congressional Black Caucus.

    In New Jersey, Donald Payne Jr., will be replacing his father.  Ohio will send a second African American female to House of Representatives – Joyce Beatty.

    Voters in Nevada elected Democrat Steve Hereford and in Texas, Marc Veasey was elected and will be the fourth African American serving as U.S. representative from that state.

    One African American representative, conservative Republican Allen West of Florida, seems to be at risk of losing a spot in the House.
    West ran a different district this time, and unofficial vote totals have him trailing Democrat Patrick Murphy in District 18.

    “A lot of the voters in that went to the polls in support of President Obama, and I don’t think voters who were voting for President Obama would be voting for Allen West,” Bositis said.
     

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