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. bczu

    Yeah, and there was no white people that voted for Romney because he was white....naaaah.

    May 9, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. nadinesh

    Yes! This is excellent news. Blacks are so demoralized in terms of civics in this country that they have always voted way less than white groups. And this has given rise to all sorts of wishful fantasies like the Tea Party's (& Reagan's) "America is a right-of-center country." I've always been quite convinced that this was nonsense. The problem for those of us who are liberal–and damn proud of it–is to get out the minority vote! The Republicans know it too because there has been mighty gerrymandering going on at the local level to exclude minorities' voices as much as possible. I say let's run minority candidates a lot more than we do and let's run another minority candidate for President in 2016. I am hopeful I live to see the day when the Minorities will take their rightful demographic place in our Republic.

    May 9, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. RR

    The bad news just keeps on rolling in for the GOP. Reform or you will become obsolete. VCRs anyone??

    May 9, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Mark

    If I would have voted just based on color I would have been called a racist. I bet 90% of the people who voted the brownclown into office didn't even know what he based his campaign on or his policies, other than he was black. Talk about racist.

    May 9, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Color Blind

    When we stop all this color business. We are all people. there is no need for this kind of analysis anymore than there is a need for gender based analysis. If we just STOPPED identifying people by color, sex, race it would make a huge improvement in terms of discrimination based on color, sex and race.

    May 9, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. duh

    want to end up like Greece? stay the course and full steam ahead.

    May 9, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Wake up People!

    I'm not sure what Fox-lite had in mind with this story but it seems like the only posts being published are the bigoted ones.

    First of all, no one voted multiple times. That is a bare faced lie. I tested your theory. I took a friend to vote at my former voting location. I knew the poll workers because they worked them for years. One was even my nephew's grandmother. I asked if I could vote there. They checked the register and my name wasn't in it. They informed me I couldn't vote there but had to go to my new location. I saw lines of people waiting to vote. So that's another lie that we didn't actually vote.

    As for the Obama phones as you call them. Check your local trailer park. Keep reading, I'm about to school you idiots on us. Some of us are the most materialistic people you will ever encounter. We want the latest, greatest most high tech gadgets there are. I have yet to see one of us with an Obama phone.

    You people are pathetic but the best part is, you are becoming the dreaded minority.

    May 9, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Stupidity_Not_Ignorance

    @vj – that wasn't even intelligently thought out. Simply based on demographics that's not even possible. But your racist & stereotypical rant is exactly why Republicans continue to lose. How about reaching out to people other than old white men an see if people gravitate to your cause. Republicans love to say they are the party of Lincoln yet how many are willing to go on a predominately black radio station or into a predominitely black neighborhood? Racist people have a superiority complex which is evident in your comment. Just because the majority of blacks can see through Sarah Palin type of idiocracy shows a higher level of intelligence.

    @Jeff E – I'm sorry the article also states based on percentages blacks outvoted white in 1968 as well. Being that blacks have always been either denied the right to vote or access to vote in many cases, it's amazing to see any black in a voting booth. But instead of asking about whether blacks will vote for someone who isn't black, realize that every other president that has been voted in has been white. Obviosly blacks don't find an issue voting outside of their race.

    May 9, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. Gill Bates

    Blacks voted in higher percentages, that doesn't mean more blacks voted than whites.

    May 9, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. name

    haha so they show a picture of a line with all black people and a single white person. way to drive the point home...

    May 9, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. davecu

    We get what we vote for.

    May 9, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. name

    sorry, 2 white people.

    May 9, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. Sniffit

    How many times do we have to point out that this is what's at the very root of the GOP/Teatrolls' 5 year freakout before the MSM actually admits it and stops covering for them by whitewashing it?

    May 9, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. JomoDaMusicMan

    Why are you white people complaining simply because 93% of black voted for Obama. It should be a bigger story if 7% of black voters actually voted for Romney. What in the hell would a Racist White Cult (Mormon Church) have to offer blacks. At least 85% of blacks always vote Democratic, so an extra 8% of blacks voted for the so-called black candidate. Some of you so called White People are actually blacker than Obama. Blackness is more about social values and issues than skin tone or complexion. Obama, is not black, he came out of a white woman and he has or never will be about the struggles of black people in America. He is more about trying to get his enemies (McCain & Palin & right Wing Republicans) TO LIKE HIM. 75% of White Males hate him and voted against him, so what does he do appoint white males to 100% of his cabinet Positions including Republicans, NO BLACKS WERE APPOINTED. yOU wHITE pEOPLE SHOULD ACTUALLY LOVE OBAMA MORE THAN BLACKS BECAUSE HE IS MORE FOR YOU THAN HE IS FOR THE BLACK PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED HIM. YES, I'M BLACK AND VOTED FOR HIM, SO I CAN CRITICIZE HIM

    May 9, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. dumb

    are you stupid? stop skewing the data. blacks make up 10% of the country, so 60 percent of blacks is 6%. blacks make up 60 percent so 60% of that is 35%. 35 > 6. whites outvoted blacks 6 to 1

    May 9, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. hilariousness


    Anti-White vote. We build a Nation from nothing and now they are talking it from us in the voting booths.



    Someone knows nothing about history at all. First Native Americans, then African imports, then the Chinese, and most recently Latin peoples have carried the torch, building this country up from nothing. And they did it for the most part with no thanks and while reaping no benefits for their hard work. The smugness of Joe America when he makes such an uneducated statement as the aforementioned... truly amazing.

    May 9, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. vj

    the next right-wing trick, now that vote suppression didnt work, is to award electoral votes based on # of voting districts won and not plurality of votes. May the GOP die a slow, agonizing, suffocation demise

    May 9, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. BigRay

    Blacks have suffered most under Obama's policies and we should be proud that the Black community continues to vote Democrat in droves? Hey, hate the GOP all you want, but to actually think voting Democrat is helping your cause? Thats the biggest scam going since Bernie Madoff! Wow. This country is truly sunk if we can't educate voters to vote for people who do what they say, have morals, principles and actually care about Americans and not just Special Interests. Sadly we live in a time where color of skin rather then content of character still means too much.

    May 9, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. cqt141414

    the white vote was split, while the black vote went almost entirely to the half/black candidate. blacks should be ashamed of their racist voting habits!

    May 9, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. How Quickly We Forget

    Article after article, survey after survey, and stastics report after statistics report have shown that "minorities" are no longer the minority. According to the US Census, white people are now the minority in three states and close to even (if not even) in over 30 states. This being said, can we now please stop discrimination against whites, particularily white males? In fact, get rid of any special group based on race and base hiring, entry into universities/colleges, etc on the ability and education level to do the work, get hired, or enter. When every class of people is "special," nobody is special. The law mandates protecting the minority, which most people take as protection against whites. There is a court case in California about a white male suing a company because he was discriminated against from being hired because he was white and male. My guess is he will win because the company did discriminate against hiring a minority. What will happen when these types of cases go nationwide?

    May 9, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. obamaisgod

    bczu, there have been a number of studies that have shown that Obama benefited from his race. More people voted for him because he's black than people voted against him for it.

    May 9, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Stop dichotomy-mongering media

    "A whopping 26 million 'blacks' turned out to vote, but only 158 million 'whites' turned out to vote."

    May 9, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. imahippyburning

    Sadly the first Black President has turned out to be a complete disgrace to his race and utter failure to his Country. The only way he was able to steal this last election was by offering more freebies, covering up Benghazi, using deceit and lies such as his 18% tax rate while claiming Rodney only pays 15%. The black electorate has proven themselves to be completely racist and biased as over 95% voted for this President strictly due to his being black and offering free stuff to them not realizing nothing is ever free except their freedoms that they are so willing to give up to a corrupt Marxist who is further enslaving them to big Govt on a daily basis. They will not vote for a Black Conservative with morals, character, leadership skills or true experience in the workplace other than being a clipboard carrying activist! They will not listen to reason until the printing presses stop and they are forced to face the fact that they are completely lost without entitlements. Look at Zimbabwe as that is your future Black Amerika!

    May 9, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Ben

    @Old White Conservative: Strait? That's just a surname, right? I'm curious about something: How exactly do you "new" a state? It sounds fascinating. What new state is your county in, sir? All kidding aside, you, old man, may continue voting for your white candidate as often as you want. Abhorrent as it is, every adult in this country has been afforded that right, regardless of gender, creed, class, race, and IQ. So continue to vote for whomever you choose. I take solace in the fact that with people like you on their side, most of your votes will be wasted on losers.

    May 9, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. Guest

    Ninety three percent of black people voted for the black candidate; what a surprise! What other reason was there to vote for Obama? The guy's Marxist perception of the role government plays in our lives has NO place in American politics. Most blacks even disagree with Obama on many of his key issues on same sex marriage and immigration, yet they run out to vote for the black guy who has done nothing to better the lives of African-Americans.

    Blacks: the REAL racists of the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. They will never admit to it; black people will continue to live in their little fantasy world where all white people are evil and that whites are the only racists in world history.

    May 9, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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