Black voters “outperformed” their potential share of the electorate in 2012, while every other minority group and whites “underperformed.” According to an analysis by the Associated Press, if the racial and ethnic composition of the electorate were the same it was before Barack Obama entered the national stage, Mitt Romney would be President.
This ought to forever put to rest the lie that voter id laws disenfranchise minority voters.
Blacks make up about 12% of the total pool of eligible voters, yet they comprised 13% of the overall electorate in 2012. This is a very high turnout, fueled, no doubt, by Barack Obama being on the ballot. The share of the electorate made up of White, Asian or Hispanic voters were all well below their share of the population. According to the AP, for example, 2-5 million fewer whiles voted compared to 2008, even though their number of eligible voters had increased.
It is an open question whether the higher rate of minority turnout is a “new normal.” In 2010, the electorate reverted to its historical norm and Republican swept the elections. Barack Obama was in the White House, but he wasn’t on the ballot. If this pattern continues, 2014 could be another big year for Republicans.
The AP analysis is further evidence that the 2012 outcome was unique to Barack Obama. He was obviously helped by the historic black turnout, but he was equally helped by Mitt Romney’s uninspiring campaign. Millions of potential Romney voters simply stayed home.
This should caution Democrat leaders who interpret Obama’s reelection as an endorsement of his policy positions. It looks increasingly like it really was just all about him.