Minorities Donating Little to Presidential Races

Jack Gillum and Luis Alonso Lugo, Yahoo! News, November 3, 2012

Americans living in predominantly wealthy, white neighborhoods account for nearly all the sizable campaign contributions in this year’s presidential election, according to an Associated Press analysis, even as the presidential candidates have aggressively courted Hispanics. Latino voters are widely viewed as pivotal for victories in some battleground states Tuesday.

The disparity in donating particularly affects Latinos. About 16 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic, but not even 4 percent of the more than $1.3 billion in 3 million-plus itemized contributions came from mostly Hispanic neighborhoods this year, the AP’s analysis showed. More than 90 percent came from majority white neighborhoods.

Hispanics, by at least this important measure of contributing to a candidate whose views they support, are remarkably disengaged in the election yet represent a significant ethnic group for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

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Even among the poorest neighborhoods, non-Hispanics contributed far more regularly to the campaigns and the political groups that supported them. The trend similarly holds true for campaign contributions from mostly black, Asian or Native American neighborhoods.

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The AP analysis did not consider the sources of contributions of $200 or less per person because, under federal law, political groups are not required to disclose any identifying information about such donors, even their names. About 65 percent of donors supporting Obama gave more than $200, compared with 85 percent for Romney.

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Median household income for Hispanics was $37,759, but for non-Hispanic whites it was $54,620, according to 2010 census figures. {snip}

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The AP analyzed contributions to candidates’ official campaigns, their political parties and “super” political committees that support them. Federal data do not include demographic information about donors, so the AP mapped donor addresses with demographic data for each census block. {snip}

Donations from majority Hispanic neighborhoods account for only 3.5 percent of itemized donations through mid-October. That correlates with about 2.7 percent from majority black neighborhoods and less than 1 percent from Asian communities.

The gap is even greater among neighborhoods with fewer whites. About 2 percent, or $26 million, of the contributions came from neighborhoods in which 75 percent of residents identified themselves in the 2010 census as Hispanic.

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