Posted on July 18, 2012

Report: Obama Needs Better than 2004 Black Turnout

SRN News, July 17, 2012

One of the country’s oldest civil rights groups says President Barack Obama may have a tougher time winning at least three battleground states in November should black voter turnout fall at least 5 percentage points below the record levels that helped to put him in the White House.

Black voter turnout of 64.7 percent was a significant factor in Obama’s victory in 2008, and African Americans are considered solidly behind Obama now. But having achieved the milestone of electing Obama as the nation’s first black president, black voters may be less motivated to return to the polls in droves again, the National Urban League said in a report to be released Tuesday.

Assuming no change in 2008 voting patterns, Urban League researchers said, black turnout at about 60 percent or below could cost Obama North Carolina and make it difficult for him to win Ohio and Virginia. In addition to diminished voter enthusiasm, the still-ailing economy, persistent high unemployment among blacks, new state voting laws and limited growth in the African American population could help discourage turnout.

“We achieved a high-water mark in America in 2008. For the first time, African Americans were at the table with white America” because the turnout of black voters was just 1.4 points below white voters, said Chanelle Hardy, senior vice president and executive director of the National Urban League Policy Institute. {snip}


The league said African-American voters had their biggest impact in North Carolina four years ago. An additional 127,000 black North Carolinians who had not voted in 2004 cast ballots in 2008, and Obama won North Carolina by about 14,200 votes. {snip}


African-American voter turnout has been on a steady climb since 1996, when turnout was just 53 percent, down from the 1992 turnout of 59.2 percent.