If Black voter turnout reverts to the level it was before Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008, the nation’s first Black president will have a difficult time winning a second term in the White House, concludes a National Urban League report released Monday.
The report, “The Hidden Swing Voters: Impact of African- Americans in 2012,” was written by Madura Wijewarden and Valerie Wilson of the National Urban League Policy Institute based in Washington.
The report observed, “In 2012, if the African- American voter turnout rate in every state declines to 60%, which was the national voter turnout rate for African-Americans in 2004, then we estimate:
“President Barack Obama will not win North Carolina – a decline in African-American turnout will lead to a loss of 63,706 votes which is 4.5 times the 2008 margin of victory. “President Barack Obama will have difficulty winning Ohio and Virginia – lower African-American turnout will lead to a loss of almost a quarter of the margin of victory in 2008.”
African- Americans clearly made a difference in North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Florida.
“The 2008 victory by then-Senator Barack Obama in North Carolina was primarily due to the growth in African-American voters in that state,” the report said. “The number of additional African-Americans who voted in North Carolina in 2008 compared to 2004 was nearly nine times the margin of victory in North Carolina – an additional 127,000 African-Americans voted and the margin of victory was 14,177.”
The National Urban League study estimated that if John McCain had received an additional 2 points in support from African- Americans in North Carolina, he would have defeated Obama, a lesson that is apparently not lost on Mitt Romney, who has begun courting the African- American vote.
The progress of 2008 could be undermined if efforts to dilute the Black vote are successful, the report said.
“Efforts by several states to introduce voter identification requirements and limitations on early and postal voting are casting doubts on whether the diverse electorate of 2008 will be maintained, let alone expanded,” it stated. “The stability and legitimacy of the republican form of government depends more on achieving that expansion of the electoral franchise than anything else. This makes 2012 a crucial election.” Even though phenomenal growth has been achieved in Black voter turnout, voter registration has not kept pace with that progress.
The November presidential election will pit Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, against Mitt Romney, the first Mormon to win the nomination of a major party for president.
The Urban League report observed:
“This expansion of access to the highest office in the land to different racial, ethnic and religious minorities through leadership of both political parties is a cause for celebration.”