obama & black voters

Obviously President Obama was one reason blacks voted in record numbers in 2012

*Hmm, very, very interesting.

According to a recently concluded Pew Research Center study, brothers and sisters voted  at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and for the first time in history may also have voted at a higher rate than whites.

This information is from a recently concluded analysis of census data, election day exit poll data and vote totals from selected cities and counties.

Unlike other minority groups whose increasing electoral muscle has been driven mainly by population growth, blacks’ rising share of the vote in the past four presidential elections has been the result of rising turnout rates.

These participation milestones are notable not just in light of the long history of black disenfranchisement, but also in light of recently-enacted state voter identification laws that some critics contended would suppress turnout disproportionately among blacks and other minority groups.

In fact, according to census data and the election day exit polls, blacks made up 12 percent of the eligible electorate1 this year but accounted for an estimated 13 percent of all votes cast—a repeat of the 2008 presidential election, when blacks “over-performed” at the polls by the same ratio. In all previous presidential elections for which there are reliable data, blacks had accounted for a smaller share of votes than eligible voters.

The candidacy in 2008 and 2012 of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, is no doubt one of the main reasons for these new patterns. But there are other explanations as well, including the increased racial and ethnic diversity of the electorate, and a declining turnout rate among whites.

In 2012, more Hispanics and Asian-Americans voted than ever before, but the turnout rates among these groups (votes cast as a share of eligible voters), while rising, continues to lag that of the general public by a substantial margin. Their growing electoral muscle is mainly due to their rapid population growth.

As for whites, not only has their share of the eligible electorate been falling for decades, but their turnout rate appears to have declined in 2012 for the second presidential election in row.

Read the rest of this report at Pew Social Trends.