It's a First: Black Voting Rate in 2012 Higher Than White Rate

Voting rates in 2012 reflect a polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama and many whites stayed home.

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Chicago voters waiting in line on Nov. 6, 2012 (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The Associated Press is reporting that for the first time, African American voters turned out at a higher rate than whites and other minority groups in 2012, reflecting a deeply divided presidential election in which blacks cast ballots in large numbers for Barack Obama and many whites failed to show up at the polls.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year's heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president ...

Overall, the findings represent a tipping point for blacks, who for much of America's history were disenfranchised and then effectively barred from voting until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

But the numbers also offer a cautionary note to both Democrats and Republicans after Obama won in November with a historically low percentage of white supporters. While Latinos are now the biggest driver of U.S. population growth, they still trail whites and blacks in turnout and electoral share, because many of the Hispanics in the country are children or noncitizens ...

Read more at the Associated Press.

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