Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record
Residents of the historically African-American neighborhood of Harlem wait in line to vote on Election Day. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
May 9th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record

Washington (CNN) – A new Census Bureau report shows a higher percentage of African-Americans than whites voted in a presidential election for the first time in history last year during the matchup between President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

The report, released Wednesday, found that more than 66% of eligible blacks voted in the presidential contest. Only 64.1% of whites turned out to vote.

This marks the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the whites.

In addition to blacks turning out at a higher rate, the number of Asian and Hispanic voters grew from 2008 to 2012. Hispanics added 1.4 million people and Asians added over 500,000. Between 1996 and 2012, blacks, Asians and Hispanics all saw their percentage of the voting population increase.

"Over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over one in six in 1996 to more than one in four in 2012," said Thom File, the report's author.

The highest turnout of blacks, in addition to the growing number of Hispanics and Asians, could also explain Obama's success in defeating Romney.

According to CNN exit polls, 93% of African-Americans, 71% of Hispanics and 73% of Asians supported Obama over Romney.

OPINION: Belcher: Historic milestone for African-American voters

Some other findings from the Census Bureau analysis:

• While the Latino vote might turned the election toward Obama and caused much post-election soul-searching among Republicans, the Census Bureau data showed that Latino's turnout rate was far below that of blacks and whites – only 48% of the Latino population turned out, which was nearly two percentage points below the 2008 rate. While the Latino population in the country increased by about 1.4 million to 11.2 million from 2008 to last year, the number of Hispanics who were eligible to vote but didn't grew by 2.3 million to 12.1 million.

But because the Latino share of the under-18 population, they should become an important bloc in the future. While Hispanics make up 17% of the nation's overall population, 24% of the country's under-18 population is Latino.

• Youth voter turnout also declined between the two elections: The turnout rate of those 18 to 24 fell to 41.2% last year, down from 48.5% in 2008. At the same time, the turnout rate of those 65 and older increased from 70.3% in 2008 to 71.9% last year.

But like Latinos, so-called Millennial generation – adults born after 1980 who are now between 18 and 33 – continues to grow. While Millennials are currently 25.5% of the electorate, they are expected to make up 36.5% by 2020.

• Besides the record rate that African-Americans voted at, non-whites made up 26.3% of all voters, another all-time high. The share of the non-white population is also expected to rise from 33.9% to 37.8% in 2020 and 54.8% by 2060, according to Census Bureau projections. Republicans should be concerned – Mitt Romney captured only 17% of the growing non-white population.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (620 Responses)
  1. rs

    Ninety three percent of black people voted for the black candidate; what a surprise! What other reason was there to vote for Obama?
    ______________________
    It doesn't take a pile of logic to see the falacy of your position. If the election results were simply race-based, then 90% of the white population would have voted for Mr. Romney- something that obviously didn't happen.I think you'll find much more logic in looking at the demographic groups won and lost. The only one Romeny won was the white male population. He lost women, all minorities and the youth.

    May 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. The Good News

    The Good News is that as hundreds of thousands and more, indeed millions of Whites marry more Blacks and more and more Blacks marry Whites there is not going to be a pure White race anymore! So, eat your hearts out pro-white superiority groups! Your days are numbered and that is Great News!!

    May 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. wilf

    I find it interesting CNN posts these articles to get right wing guy's to log on to the comments cashing$$$$. Nice to see the Right support the liberal news net. Thank's for the donation to the cause.

    May 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. guest

    This headline is not misleading because it is an intentional, outright lie. Blacks displayed a higher turnout percetnage. They did not "outvote" whites, as the number of white people who voted is more than the number of black people who did. CNN should be sued for knowingly reporting a lie.

    May 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Larry in Houston

    @ Cleveland Indian – I beg to differ w/ you – Michael Jackson did the exact opposite !!

    May 9, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. yogi

    @jonnyg
    Some voted as many as 6 times we have since learned
    @Guest13126
    Of course they did. Many blacks voted 7 or 8 times.
    ----------------------–
    Do I hear 9?
    Republicans are such a sad bunch.

    May 9, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. DD

    Why do we as a society have to continue to refer to the black population as "African Americans"? When is the time going to come that they are simply called "Americans"? Mostly all "African Americans" are at least a few generations removed from their African ancestry, so based on that logic, why don't we call all white Americans "European Americas"? Sounds really stupid to me. Black and white is just a distinguishing characteristic, a color; nothing more, nothing less. It's about time to drop the whole "African American" title.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is just something that really annoys me.

    May 9, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Keith

    How many of these people actually voted? It's common knowledge that the black vote was manipulated. Dead people voted, people voted for those who didn't vote for themselves, and some voted multiple times. This story is bs.

    May 9, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Wake up People!

    Peoples State. You are one of the biggest, lying, trolling bigots on this site. I wouldn't believe a word you said.
    -------------–
    I know you are, but what am I? You don't have to believe me, try using google, or are you to lacking in intellect?

    May 9, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    According to CNN exit polls, 93% of African-Americans, 71% of Hispanics and 73% of Asians supported Obama over Romney
    -------------------------------------------------
    Did I miss the percentage of Whites that voted for Obama? I'm particularly interested in the percentage of White women that voted for our duly re-elected President.
    I figure we might as well blow the heads off their necks while we're at it!

    May 9, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. guest

    P.S. Cat got your tongue about Benghazi? LMAO!

    May 9, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They pissed us the hell off with the way they treated THIS President and by extension our country.
    Hell yes we turned out to vote.
    --------------–

    Count me in on being pissed off too!

    May 9, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Larry in Houston

    after "dubya" – this country will take a long time to recover – he's the one who put this country in the ditch it's in – All you have to do is go back to history – take a look at the Dow when his term was almost up – how about that 787 Billion ? where did it Go ? ( my opinion : it went into dubya's hands, along with cheney & truth be known, Henry Paulson got the most of it) all 3 of them should have been sent to Alcatraz, even if it IS closed.

    May 9, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Guest

    And just look at all the great things Obama has done for the black community.....nothing.

    May 9, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I wonder what the GOP outreach program has been for Asians.
    I wonder if they are done with their Asian listening sessions? Who within the GOP conducted them?
    I mean they've thrown Rubio at us Latinos. Bwahahahahaha!!
    Ben Carson, et al at Blacks. Hardy-har-har.
    Who are they throwing at Asians? I haven't seen them bust a move in that direction.

    May 9, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. mgkdrgn

    "black voters turned out to the presidential polls at a higher rate than whites"

    And it too them, what, 7 months to figure this out? Pure genius.

    May 9, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Johnny 5

    What was the ratio of black and white big banksters that bought Obama's 1st & 2nd term?

    May 9, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Benny

    Duh.... It will be interesting to see how many blacks vote in the next presidential election if there is no black candidate. The saddest part is that they only voted for him because of his skin color and not any of his platforms. And they say white people are racist....whatever. Oh, and for the record I am white and I did vote for Obama the first time but then realized how useless he was and I changed my vote the second time.

    May 9, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Peoples Statue of Illinois

    @Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They pissed us the hell off with the way they treated THIS President and by extension our country.
    Hell yes we turned out to vote.
    ----––

    Count me in on being pissed off too!
    --------
    And some of us are pissed the hell off at the way this president has treated this country.

    May 9, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. just sayin

    DD
    -–
    Why do we as a society have to continue to refer to the black population as "African Americans"? When is the time going to come that they are simply called "Americans"? Mostly all "African Americans" are at least a few generations removed from their African ancestry, so based on that logic, why don't we call all white Americans "European Americas"? Sounds really stupid to me. Black and white is just a distinguishing characteristic, a color; nothing more, nothing less. It's about time to drop the whole "African American" title.
    ---
    Sorry for the rant, but this is just something that really annoys me.
    --–

    answer: the democrat party is entirely a race based party. if they fail to maintain their racial categories, they will be able to pit one group against another in order to benefit from it.

    May 9, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Hal Pritzker

    Big surprise, wasn't it? Wonder how many coloreds would have voted if, God forbid, two white candidates were involved. Obviously, they wanted to see their black-or half-black-brother stay in the White House.

    May 9, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Kraigaford

    The black vote goes overwhelmingly Democrat regardless, because what does the Republican party have to offer anyone except for the wealthy. The only reason Republicans really get any votes is because they play on the emotions of racists, religious nuts, and gun toting physchopaths. They are the party of complete irrationality and unless you're a millionaire you're ignorant to vote for them.

    May 9, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Lisa

    Good for them!

    May 9, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. vbscript2

    The lower voter turnout was because those on the right were simply voting against Obama, not as much for Romney. You don't get as many people excited about going out to vote for the lesser of two evils. After Obama's miserable first 4 years, 2012 should have been the easiest election for Republicans to win since Reagan's re-election, yet their horrible selection of candidates managed to lose it anyway.

    May 9, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Lisa

    Also... what amazing hypocrites on this page. Oh, they "voted for him because he was black"... right. Because no white person EVER votes for someone who is the white candidate, right?

    Jesus, when will this bigotry end?

    May 9, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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