Suppress This: GOP Vote 'Shenanigans' Drove Blacks to Polls
6 months ago
Blacks in key battleground states determined to vote, exit polling shows
Not only did President Barack Obama trounce challenger Mitt Romney in winning reelection Tuesday, black voters were as, or more, committed in their support for the president than 2008, exit polling showed, with many African Americans spurred on by perceptions of a covert, GOP-backed strategy to keep them from the polls this year.
Both outcomes debunked analysts' projections, with Obama beating Romney by at least 3 percentage points and 126 electoral votes and exit polling showing African Americans making up 13 percent of the electorate nationally, an uptick from 2008's 12 percent, and backing Obama with 94 percent of their vote.
“We worked it!” said Aaron Phillip, pastor of Sure House Baptist Church in Cleveland and a leading faith-based voice in the fight against voting law changes in battleground Ohio, where support for Obama propelled the president into the winner's circle. Phillip helped lead a caravan of black voters to the elections department for early voting.
In Ohio, black voter turnout was even more robust than it was in 2008. "Get out the vote" efforts, coupled with anger over new voter ID laws or attempts at same, helped mobilize many black voters.
“There was a lot of games and shenanigans,” Phillips said in a phone interview. “What really mobilized us was that we felt Republicans were trying to take the vote away from us. It had the reverse effect. It ignited us. If they would have left it alone, who knows what would have happened?”
While overall nationally blacks made up 13 percent of the vote, in Ohio, black voter share increased to 15 percent from 11 percent in 2008. Nationally, the share of Hispanic voters (7 in 10 of whom backed Obama) rose to double digits for the first time in 2012 to 10 percent, while white voter share decreased to 72 percent this year, from 74 percent in 2008.
[ALSO READ: Obama's Win Sparks Racial Riot At Ole Miss]
Obama campaign officials say national exit polling data was evidence of the power of the minority vote, which GOP nominee Romney clearly struggled to court during the waning months of the campaign.