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. Monkman

    This isn't really that newsworthy. I believe if you look at presidential elections over the last 20 years, you will see that white votors tend to split more evenly between the two parties, and minorities vote overwhelmingly Democratic. No different here. The fact that you had a (half) black candidate only served to push those differences even further out. A few more whites voted for Romney, because Obama is (or, at least looks) black. And more blacks voted for Obama for the same reason. I haven't looked at all the details, but I wouldn't be surprised if the higher voter turnout in a group (minorities all together) that votes 80% Democratic was the difference in the election. Again, not really that interesting.

    May 9, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. cosmok

    Great, another article spouting how out of touch with the "New America" white people are. I'd like to know how many not-eligible to vote, non-white people voted for Obama.

    May 9, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Dan

    @Peoples Statue of Illinois – Name the counties where more than 100% of the population voted. You are lying to make a point. THe only point you really make is that you tall lies to support your opinions.

    If you're not lying, then name the counties where more than 100% of the voters are listed as voting.

    May 9, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Doctorstrangeluv

    One-tenth of the population outvoted the number of people from within the largest racial group in the country, yet so many whites (Tea Partiers) are just convinced that their culture is being stripped away from them and turned into second-class citizens. Well, maybe if enough of them got off their rear ends and voted, for a little while longer they could still hang on to the sad excuse of a white-ruled grand society they so fondly reminisce about (which never really existed anyway).

    May 9, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. wslayer

    This article also fails to mention the garb of white voters. They typically voting for the GOP. Oh! Wait a minute, We can make the argument in relations to handouts. Every single person receives some form of welfare (GOP-tax exemptions for the wealthy and etc). So that argument doesn't fly. White voters typically vote republicans because of tax exemptions, and to ensure that minorites are kept in their place, and their children continue to get the best of the best. Those days are done.

    May 9, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Reaping What Is Sown

    The Republicans believe in a theocracy and 'What you sow is what you reap.' right? Well, they sure reaped the backlash of the country through the sour, soiled and stale seeds they planted this last election! And reaping the worst of the worst hasn't even begun yet! Stay tuned to 2014 and then 2016!

    May 9, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |

    What the statistics reveal and what is not at all mentioned here but is made to appear that the black population is starting to outnumber the white is the following. 14% of the USA is identified as Black American. The white % is triple that. Draw your own conclusion. Whites are lazy and don't care about their country.

    May 9, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Cujo

    eth Jensen

    Why do white folks always have so much hate. They world is your my friends.

    RE: It's not about hate, it is about reverse racism. If the statistics were consistent, this wouldn't be a story.

    If the next GOP presidential candidate was African American, how many people think that the odds are in his favor to win the election?

    May 9, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Peach

    Because they voted 5 and 6 times.......each person. It's called voter fraud and the media glossed right over it, of course.

    May 9, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    So how many of us voted for the white guy from AK twice??? I'll tell you, every black person I know. Like many have pointed out, most of us tend to vote Democrat. Just so happens in the last 2 elections out of what 45, we actually had a candidate that didn't look like the rest of them.

    May 9, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. dee

    Great job and my people if you with
    me where the help you at?

    May 9, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. rs

    Texas Mark

    So, how soon before we hear the outrage from the left about white voter suppression? I can't hear you ...
    What white voter suppression is that?

    May 9, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Gregory L. Faith

    Voter fraud, white apathy and Romney's 47% comment sealed his fate.

    May 9, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. george

    Lets not forget democrats are the ones who wanted slavery not the republicans

    May 9, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Just Me

    I hope this puts to rest all the garbage about blacks being disenfranchised in voting. I also hope it shuts up all the naysayers about having to produce an ID to vote. Obviously, people can get to the voting booths.

    May 9, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. really?

    Clearly racism is alive. Black vote 99% for Obama and came out for droves. I wonder if others voted solely upon skin color what would happen....

    May 9, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Adam

    What possible reason could there be for more black people to have voted in this election? It's a mystery. And 99% of black people voted for the same candidate? I wonder why... Probably because they genuinely agreed with his policies and felt his first 4 years were a great success. Not at all because they shared a skin color.

    May 9, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. ColdWarVet75

    I find this story very hard to believe. Blacks only make up about 13% of the population. And I don't recall race being on my ballot when I voted.

    May 9, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. ds

    hahahahaha – look at all the whites mad on this blog – like they say truth hurts!

    May 9, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Biggest Conservative FEAR...

    ...that minorities actually get out there and vote...

    May 9, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. JJ236

    Ummm White folks didn't need the free phones?

    May 9, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. MassiveMarbles

    All I can say is let's get someone in office for the people and against the lobbyists next time.

    May 9, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. politicalchristiansleft

    “The report on the 2012 election found that for the first time on record, black voters turned out to the presidential polls at a higher rate than whites.”
    “This the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the whites.”
    Well, was it the first time on record, or the first time since 1968?
    ‘While the Latino vote might turned the election toward Obama and caused much post-election soul-searching among Republicans….”
    ‘Might turned’?

    May 9, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. smackinfact

    NO KIDDING.. Last time I saw that many black folk in line was for free gubment cheese, free flu shots and food stamps... Obama got his troops rallied didn't he?!?!?!?!

    May 9, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. oleinwi

    Well, percentages aside, when bl ack poll workers in Racine WI were openly bragging about voting 6 times, gee, big shocker. Voter fraud this last election cycle was the worst in history (precincts in Florida with 128% turnout!). With Holder in, there's no pursuit whatsoever in fixing that. Once we lose the fundamental building block of a democracy (honest elections), it's sort of over, right? Does anyone honestly expect folks living off the rest of us to vote for anyone other than those that are going to keep giving them a free ride? Look this up and know where we are headed: Panem et circenses.

    May 9, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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