Busting Obama’s Black Voter Turnout Myth

Here’s a little myth busting on Obama turnout at the polls…  

Earle S. Banks, recently told L.A. Times that Barack Obama’s “presence on the ticket could spur dramatic increases in black turnout. And that, he said, potentially could put Mississippi in the Democratic column for the first time since 1976, when it went to Jimmy Carter.”

Tom Schaller says in response onTapped:

In the past 18 months since my book was published, I feel like I have had to repeat nearly a thousand times that the “problem” of blacks not turning out to vote in the South–a “fact” that an Obama candidacy (at the top or the bottom of the ticket) would purportedly remedy–is not a fact at all, but rather a complete fiction that people do not take so much as five seconds to confirm before spouting off about as some sort of partisan problem for Democrats.

Let’s be clear: According to Census Bureau estimates, in 2004 African Americans were 17.9 percent of age-eligible southerners (in the 11 former Confederate states) and they were–buckle-up here–17.9 percent of actual voters in 2004. That is proportionate, for starters. But when you consider that blacks are, on average, poorer and/or from a lower socioeconomic station than southern whites, it means that, controlling for status, blacks actually turn out at higher rates than comparable whites. Put another way, a middle class 40-year-old black plumber and husband and father of two is more likely to vote in the South than a comparable white plumber. […]

Look: Obama may be able to push up black turnout a bit in the South, but it’s already pretty high and the Democratic share is already nearly maximized. The electoral black vote ceiling has not been reached yet, but Democratic presidential candidates are nearly bumping their heads against it already, Obama or no Obama.

Matt Yglesias concurs with Shaller. While the Democratic Party is a higher turn out rate across the country this year, it is in part due to the higher turnout of women, particularly unmarried women:

For the first time in history, nationally there are as many unmarried women – single, separated, divorced, widowed – as there are married women. There are 53 million unmarried women in the country, and they are 26 percent of eligible voters. However, compared to their married sisters, unmarried women historically are 9 percentage points less likely to register, and 13 percentage points less likely to vote.

And the majority of women voters, we have seen through out this primary cycle are voting for Hillary Clinton. She’s got the lock on the “Invisible Women” vote and that could be key in the national election:

Everyone has been underestimating the power behind Clinton’s female vote. Progressive men refuse to cover it seriously. We’ve seen some of it, but nothing compared to what could be unleashed in the general election. I don’t need anyone to tell me that the female vote is a secret weapon for Hillary if she’s the Democratic nominee. Put that together with Hispanics and lunch bucket Democrats, including blue collar men like my husband, and no one can beat her. Besides, I even think quite a few Republican women will crossover for the chance to vote for the first female president in United States history. There’s nothing comparable to what she brings. 

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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2 Responses to Busting Obama’s Black Voter Turnout Myth

  1. Pingback: The Democratic Daily

  2. red says:

    No question that the democratic turnout is large in part because of women, many of whom are supporting Hillary Clinton. But if this were the main reason, Sen. Clinton would be the nominee by now.

    Black people got increasingly motived too, but that’s not the main reason for a large turnout either.

    Look at the northwestern states, in some places the turnout has been several times higher than in previous primaries. It is not because of the black voters, since there aren’t than many of them, and it not because women, single or married, since Obama won by huge margins. However you look at it, it is clear that the main reason the turnout is so high is Obama’s ability to attract new voters, black and white alike.