Black turnout

It’s a well-known fact, of course, that not only super strong support among Black voters really helped Obama, but that increased Black turnout also played a critical role in his victories.   Pew recently put out a report that looked at this increase.  How’s this for a factoid– in 2008 turnout among young Blacks was greater than turnout among young whites:

And here’s a pretty amazing chart that shows, on the whole, Black turnout has completely caught white turnout:

Data from 2012 (not in the chart) is similar.  Two observations…

1) So, how much of this is an “Obama effect”?  Just what will Black turnout look like in 2016 is a huge question.  Insofar as voting is very much a habit, many Black voters who have voted in the past two elections– even if just because of Obama– will likely be much inclined to continuing doing so.  Also, the relative drop-off in off-year elections, is also key.

2) This is really impressive.  Education level is a huge predictor of turnout, and given the lower average education levels for Blacks, this means that for any given level of education, Blacks are actually turning out to vote better than whites.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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