Six Take-Aways from the Census Bureau’s Voting Report

by - May 09, 2013

Today’s report from the Census Bureau on the diversifying American electorate in 2012 confirms an historic turnout milestone first noted last December by the Pew Research Center, but undercuts a number of other widely-reported demographic analyses of last year’s presidential vote. Here are the six most important take-aways from Census Bureau data: 1. For the first time ever, the black voter turnout rate in a presidential election exceeded the white voter turnout rate—66.2% versus 64.1%. While the presence of Barack Obama on the ballot in 2008 and 2012 no doubt contributed to the narrowing and reversal of what had been a longstanding black-white turnout gap, the rise in the black turnout rate pre-dates his candidacies, as the chart to the right illustrates. 2. Hispanics continue to punch below their weight. Much was made right after the November election about the clout of the Hispanic vote (by, among others, the Pew Research Center). But the new Census Bureau data show that Hispanics’ turnout rate—just 48%—was far below that of whites (64.1%) or blacks (66.2%).  It also fell nearly two percentage points below the Hispanic turnout rate in 2008, which was 49.9%. Because of population growth, the number of Latinos who voted for president increased by about 1.4 million from 2008 to 2012, to a record 11.2 million, but the number of  Latinos who were eligible but chose not to vote increased even more—by 2.3 million—from 9.8 million in 2008 to 12.1 million in 2012.

Pew Research Center

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