The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Pollster

Pew Study: 2008 Electorate Most Diverse Yet

By Dan Balz
A new study by the Pew Research Center found that participation rates among African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans all rose between 2004 and 2008, leaving the share of the electorate accounted for by white voters at an all-time low of 76.3 percent.

African American women voted at higher participation rates than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the study, which was based on an analysis of Census data. The study found that 68.8 percent of eligible black women voted in the last election, an increase of 5.1 percentage points.

White women were the next highest in participation rates, followed by white men, black men, Latino women and Latino men. Asian American men and women voted ranked at the bottom in terms of participation rates.

Overall, African Americans accounted for 12.1 percent of the electorate, up from 11 percent in 2004. Black turnout increased by two million voters.

Latinos increased their share of the electorate from 6 percent to 7.4 percent between 2004 and 2008, and, like African Americans, saw their numbers grow by two million voters. The Asian American share of the electorate grew from 2.3 percent to 2.5 percent.

Twenty years ago, the presidential electorate was 84.9 percent white. It has decreased in each presidential election since then, but the sharpest decline came between 2004 and 2008.

Obama's candidacy was a factor in the higher participation rates among minorities, but population growth among minority groups also contributed to the changing composition of the electorate, according to the study, which was authored by Mark Hugo Lopez and Paul Taylor.

Posted at 6:34 PM ET on Apr 30, 2009  | Category:  The Pollster
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The youth vote being strongly Democratic spells a long stay in the political wilderness for the GOP - and possibly even the party going the way of the Whigs...

The old GOP slogans simply don't work anymore. As long as the GOP remains dead-set against universal healthcare, adressing climate change, sticks to its jingoist attitude towards much of the world and cultivates homophobia and other forms of obscurantism, how on earth can it ever be an attractive party to the young?

Lets face it. To most young voters the GOP comes across as a political dinosaur. A mentally unbalanced one, on top of that, if considering the most visible GOP figures.

Posted by: charlesf1 | May 1, 2009 6:36 PM

Many dumb white men did not vote because they did not like either choice. Soon I hope we will have enough 3rd party candidates so we can vote out all of the republicans and democrats as they are mostly all crooked. When I say dumb I mean voter dumb, we should all pick someone from the choices we have and vote for them. Take my uncle for instance he thinks no one will go to heaven unless they are Baptist and republican {everyone else just forget it} Yes he is from Kentucky so what can I add.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | May 1, 2009 6:25 PM

The other electorate factor missing from this article is the increase in the so-called youth vote (18-35 is the common measure of that, I think). I would be very interested in seeing that demographic folded into this analysis.

These factors all contributed greatly to Obama winning states that, through 2004, had voted "red" for years (states that had voted Republican in national elections for 30-40 years voted for Obama).

While some of this switch can be laid at Bush's feet, Republican leaders seem to insist that this is the ONLY reason for the flip, and that a reversal will occur in 2012 (if not in 2010) after they get a taste of Obama's, and the dreaded "liberal socialist agenda".

While Democratic leaders and Obama cannot take anything for granted (and most of them know it), it has become very clear over the past 3 months that Republican leaders (so far) have shown they really have no clue as to the significance of this paradigm shift in demographics.

Some of the press has referred to this, but because the comments come from the "MSM" a, and of course they are all "radical left and worship Obama", Republican leaders are not giving any credit to this possibility. They still insist their problem over past 2 election cycles was all due to Bush and to "it's not our message that's not relevent, it's how we've been delivering it".

No, it IS the message (policies), especially the weight given to social conservatives, that is irrelevent today. The demographics of the 1980's electorate no longer exist today. As long as Republican leadership ignors this fundamental shift, they are not coming back, not for a long time.

This is NOT 1993, as much as they would love to think so, and as many are clinging to right now. Note the resurgence of Newt, Dick Armey, Haly Barbour. Are you kidding?

Hey, I hope they continue along with their collective heads positioned where the sun don't shine! I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: bmckenzie46 | May 1, 2009 3:43 PM

Al Gore received 92% of the black vote in 2000. Bubba and Kerry also got over 90%.
Last I checked these are white men. Latinos and Asians are trending the same way.

The GOP only has itself to blame as it increasingly become an exclusively white southern party.

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | May 1, 2009 2:19 PM

The numbers are up in part because Micael Connell was tied up in court on election day.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 1, 2009 1:35 PM

"The GOP sure hates these numbers"
No, what we don't like is that it's OK for 97% of blacks to vote for BO and that's just fine but the mear fact that we disagree with his policies is somehow considered racist. Read these posts. We are accused of it everyday. The left is obsessed with the race issue, not the right.

Posted by: AkCoyote | May 1, 2009 10:49 AM

"The GOP sure hates these numbers"
No, what we don't like is that it's OK for 97% of blacks to vote for BO and that's just fine but the mear fact that we disagree with his policies is somehow considered racist. Read these posts. We are accused of it everyday. The left is onsessed with the race issue, not the right.

Posted by: AkCoyote | May 1, 2009 10:47 AM

Obama is expanding his base while the GOP folds up the Reagan "big tenet" in the name of "ideological purity." Guess that settles the next few elections...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 30, 2009 10:13 PM

The GOP sure hates these numbers

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | April 30, 2009 8:02 PM

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