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
10 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.

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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. Cory Harris

    So blacks should have voted for Romney because he is smarter? So why didn't Republicans have Romney in 2008 if he was so great for the economy when it was WORSE? Stop trying to find excuses because of other stupidity. The Right man won because of YOUR LAWS to elect people in office. You want to be made at someone, Start with YOU!!

    May 9, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Shane

    So what your saying is one group of Americans out voted another group of Americans? why are you trying to make it about Race? This should not even have been a question. We wonder why the US is divided and I say its from Stupid surveys like this or media fueling the fire. What I do want answered is how many NONE Americans Voted compared to Americans?

    May 9, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. ghostwriter

    Black guy here....

    Let me put this one out here for all the haters. Blacks have a higher poverty rate. Most black kids can't afford to go to college. Obama supports the college loan/grant programs. Romney did not. Is that a simple enough reason for black folks to vote for Obama and not Romney?

    Now, you could call the progams a handout. However, that would mean any company that gets a government backed loan, any entity that receives a grant is also getting a handout. So until you start protesting that practice, which is usually done as crony capitalism, please sit in the corner while grown folks are talking.

    May 9, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. dj

    If you didn't vote than you don't have the right to complain about the state of this nation. You should have voted. I did and, while it didn't change the outcome, I earned the right to complain.

    I campaigned for Rick Santorium, while he wasn't nominated as the Republican candidate, I know he would have been a good president and made positve changes in thus nation, Instead we are stuck with Obama for 4 more long years of hell.

    May 9, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. dr. Sikes

    A message to Frank above–the one who claims that "Communism has defeated America" Apparently you've been defeated by basic spelling. Before you go claiming that Hillary Clinton might bomb the White House, you should at least spell her name correctly...

    May 9, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. bp

    Official statement from the GOP in response: the problem is not with our positions, it is with the country. The only way to address this issue will be to further suppress the votes of minorities and the young, so that we can take our country back.

    May 9, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. ghostwriter

    Peoples State of Illinois

    So one incident......what does that bring the level of voting fraud to.....0.0009%?

    May 9, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Rob J

    It is sad that people will vote on race and who is going to give them the most stuff, and that really is the size of it. Blacks have been duped by liberal policy perpetuated by whites–some of whom (elites) are well aware of the plantation they were building and even more of the naive types simply suffering from "white guilt" and thinking they are actually helping people. So, while white liberals are certainly responsible for policy that has been ruinous to blacks, blacks must own up to the fact that they have been duped and do something about it. The results of liberal policy in the black community should speak loudly. It's not good.

    May 9, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. VOS

    And its funny how in places like Cuyahoga County in Cleveland Obama got 99% of the vote in some precincts. Mitt Romney did not get 1 vote. Not 1! And in that particular county, 110% of the county population voted. And there is no voter fraud? Yeah, right. This is just one of many. And what race mostly makes up Cuyahoga County you ask? It does not take a person with only a GED to figure that out. There is a reason why ID should be required to vote. No ID no vote, its as simple as that. I wonder what the % would have been if blacks actually had to prove who they were.

    May 9, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. WVLady63

    Blacks voted for him because he promised them more of the same, FREE EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING!!! He has done nothing for them yet they helped vote him back into office again! He has raised our taxes two times, but that doesn't have any impact on most of the blacks that voted for him because they don't work! They live off of food stamps and political correctness. Our economy is the worst it has ever been! Obama just keeps making our hole bigger and bigger that that we are falling headlong into! If another Democrat gets into office, our country will no longer exist as we know it. The Chinese own us now and yet we continue to pay billions and billions of dollars to countries that hate and murder our people! Democrats will continue this suicide and will make certain that a Republican never gets into the White House by making 15 million illegal aliens legal!

    May 9, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Long Overdue

    Oh but it's so nice to see the torch burning so many people's behinds by the comments they are posting! They need to get over it already with the new revelation that minorities are now taking over in the major areas of this country mainly politics and will continue to Stand Strong from here forward! Long time overdue but that day has finally come thanks be to God!

    May 9, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Kenman

    The story is that Hispanics added 1.4 million voters in one election cycle. With numbers like that, and Democrats ready to legalize 12 to 20 million more (with their inevitable family members and relatives yet to come), our nation will lose its American culture and identity because we're being invaded and infiltrated with liberal, Democrat voters.

    The godless party will no longer need to care what most of us think, there will be the predictable degeneration with abortion on demand paid for by us, you won't dare to complain that you don't see any mixed-sex couples, United Nations "peacekeepers" will be stationed throughout to assure our allegiances (since we can no longer afford our own military with all the social programs exploding).

    I feel the "foil hat" claims coming, but ask yourselves; should a Third World country on our southern border (overrun with crime, corruption and drug cartels and open discussion of reclaiming American land) have such a disproportionate affect (both legal and illegal) on our nation, its sovereignty, its culture, and every aspect of life that can be, and is, affected by the exploited political process?

    May 9, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. milenkovic milan

    From 315 million Americans, Blacks are ONLY 13% : if ONLY blacks voted for Pr. Obama , he will never be elected . Country is still sharply politically divided: only 3,3 million more Americans voted for Obama ( or 3% LESS than in 2008); Polarization between people is evident… For Obama voted: 41% whites ( 63,4% of USA population), 71% of Hispanics ( 17% of USA population), 73 % of Asians ( 5% of USA population), and 93% of African-Americans ( but they are ONLY 13% of USA population)… Do NOT forget that Associated Press poll finds (with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago, on 10.27.12. Times of India) that “ the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 %, up from 49 % during the last presidential election… Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too ( 57%)…

    May 9, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. ghostwriter

    Clinton got over 90% of the black vote.

    Obama also got over 70% of hispanics and asians. Also the jewish and woman vote. Matter of fact, Obama scored higher in every cataegory except old white guys.

    Now, statisically speaking, if Obama won the majority of votes in every category except old white men.....that would actually swing the racist pendelum your way. If only blacks voted en masse for Obama, you might have a point.

    May 9, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. duh

    @ data driven..... actually it's becoming a hispanic nation

    May 9, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. jobiwan

    Last time I checked Obama is half black. So really we can call him white equally. Obama is white. 93% of black voters voted for a white guy..... Just sayin.

    May 9, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. AlongTheWay

    Uhm. And so? If you ask the general populous and not just one group - this kind of singling out of one group or another is irritating. We're tired of hearing about it. Equal for everything. Now move on!

    May 9, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. VoiceOf Reason

    Not such a big news story as some would think. 90% of Blacks voted for Gore, and 88% voted for Kerry.

    May 9, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. gotdayumit

    Let's face the facts....blacks are culturally different from whites and will never get along mixing with each other possibly on a lighter than air friendship basis, however never at the conjugal level! End of story! There was a reason that the old man upstairs made one color and the other color....suffice to say he had his reasons and we should adopt them as ours! Marriage between races just don't get it in the end...and usually at the beginning!

    May 9, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Wruss

    Communism has defeated America???? Does everyone who disagrees with the GOP have to be labeled a traitor. This is so 1950's. There are no real communist states, not counting N. Korea- and do we think they have infiltrated the government? Not even China is a real communist government anymore- its more like a GOP fantasy of what a free-wheeling non-regulated capitalistic government should be. Who cares about human rights?

    May 9, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. T Diemer

    In 2012 the Republican Party did its best to supress the Black vote. When you tell Black people that you do not want them to vote – they are that much more likely to vote anyway.

    May 9, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. azezel

    The future we are facing is one where about 10% of the population does all the heavy lifting while 1% live like gods. The other 89% will live off the scraps for authorizing this through almost pointless elections.

    May 9, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. DB

    It is interesting to note of all the people that I have asked which way they voted, Democratic or Republican, maybe 5% say Obama. Maybe I am just not looking in the right places. Now how many votes can a Democrat cast and how many votes can a Republican cast? Seems the answer is either unlimited and does not count.

    May 9, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Joel

    Goodnight Republican Party. Please go lay down next to the Whig party in the completely irrelevant section.

    May 9, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. AT

    the entitlement yote has won over the working man vote – The working man is doomed and shortly after so will the non working man – guess where the money comes from to be on entitlemet programs – Well, it's not Obama's pocket. It's the WORKING tax payer. Talk about cutting off your nose inspiteof your face. The American society is slicing it's nose off.

    May 9, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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