About 66% of eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, compared with 64% of eligible whites. Blacks overtook whites because 1.8 million more African-Americans voted in 2012 than 2008, while the number of white voters dropped by two million, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Last year, African-Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama, with 93% supporting his reelection.
Their determination to keep him in office was partly why black turnout increased. Another motivation came from a desire to oppose Republican efforts to expand voter-ID requirements and impose other new rules on voting that were seen by critics as attempts to hamper those constituencies that tend to favor Democratic candidates.
“We are accustomed to people trying to deny us things, and I think sometimes you wake the sleeping giant, and that’s what happened here,” Marvin Randolph, the NAACP’s senior vice president for campaigns, told The New York Times.
The increase in black voter turnout was also fueled in significant part by more votes from black women.
The survey showed that some voting trends remain unchanged, such as that Hispanics and Asians continue to turn out at much lower rates than other groups, and that women turn out at higher rates than men.