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. Misleading

    "At a higher rate" is different from "outvoted" which is what you lead with. And then you completely neglected to include the numbers in the post at all, making us go to the report to find out how misleading you were being. This is why people hate the news these days. Cut the sensationalist crap and just give us the facts, please.

    May 9, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. David Smith

    WHAT! This article makes no sense. The article's title needs adjusting ASAP. Whites have a higher population than blacks. SOOO.... This 2 percent difference in the rates per race does not classify that blacks outvoted whites. Just more blacks went out to vote. Can't compare. Millions of whites voted more. Keep it real and simple.

    May 9, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Donnie the Lion

    "73% of Asians supported Obama over Romney" .... question for the racists reading this: Asians tend to by fiscally conservative. How do you explain this figure?

    May 9, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. roger

    This has everything to do with government subsidies.

    May 9, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Diablo135

    "Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record. 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."

    May 9, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    That's a flase headline. They talk as if it were a quantity and not a percentage. Can't CNN keep from lying even in their headlines. Come on people, where's your self respect?

    May 9, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. just sayin

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    All the more reason why gerrymandering and voter supression tactics are being used by the right. I just wish we could get a higher turnout rate for midterm elections. We'll see what happens in 2014.

    it is so funny to see the lefties in here constantly complaining about gerry mandering when they are the ones that invented it. just like the obama sequester, his idea then blames it on others.

    it would be great to get rid of gerry mandering because then all of these carved out and contorted districts designed specifically to get minorities elected would disappear. and then the lefties would be complaining yet again. make up your minds losers. which way do you want it?

    May 9, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Another lie is in the article itself. CNN states that for the first time on record blacks out voted whites, then they proceed to say that in the 1968 election, blacks also outvoted whites. Doesn't anyone EDIT these opinions?

    May 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Kristin

    Will there ever be a day when we can stop arranging America's society by race? The old school status quo is gone forever now, it's time to change.

    May 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Dan

    Is every president going to be black from now on?

    May 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Voting Power

    That ought to tell you something right there! Don't underestimate the voting power of minorities in this country! And they are all voting Democrat not Republican! We'll see the same in 2014 and 2016!

    May 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. GG

    Black voters don't vote based on race – they vote for who ever is going to support the largest handout programs. Obamaclaus.. I didn't see alot of black support for Herman Cain.

    May 9, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. TonyInNYC

    So long, Southern Strategy.

    May 9, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Dan

    and they thought that whites were racists

    May 9, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Chris

    Yay for predictable white outrage.

    Many blacks vote for Obama because he's black?

    Well, duh. And many whites voted for Romney because he's white.

    Not going to spend much time focusing on that, are we?

    May 9, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. brian wier

    I hate stupid headlines that a missleading

    May 9, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  17. Scott

    this study funded by the department of DUH!!

    May 9, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Zanarkand

    I don't get the whole arguement of blacks voting for Obama just because he is black. By that same token I'm sure the same number of whites didn't vote for him because he is black. So that should have evened out the playing field.

    May 9, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Freedom Storm

    Political correctness, which is literally killing our America, can go to he11. When one can vote with one hand and have the other hand out for a huge handout, is it any wonder they vote in very large numbers?

    May 9, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. Scott

    "Voter Suppression" is self induced

    May 9, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. northerstar

    It will be interesting to see how this voting dynamic goes in 2014 during the STATE & CONGRESS elections which are state focused. Will the trend continue ? If so, the Reps will lose Congress (they should just based on the performance of Washington: Both Congress & the Senate have performed poorly so no party should be happy with their representatives).

    May 9, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Not to put down blacks as they thought they were getting the better deal. That has been happening for 80 plus years now. We have the 17 Trillion Dollar Federal debt to prove it. So in the long run there will be no better deal. For that you have to do it yourself. I believe unemployment among blacks is still too high.

    May 9, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Tammy

    IIt's obvious the blacks outvoted the whites.....look who is President and look at the lousy position this country is in now (worse than ever) -our country is starting to look and behave like people in 'the hood'.

    May 9, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. John

    So what. We are all US citizens. Just another example of the media trying to stir up racial unrest and divide our country. Must be a slow news day.

    May 9, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. A Great Force

    Heh, heh, we's gots it all sewn up in America now heh, heh! We's all a great force to be reckoned with!

    May 9, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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