Barack Obama and the Black Vote

Lately I've been hearing people assert that perhaps Barack Obama won the 2008 US presidential election primarily due to the black vote. I don't believe that is the case. Let me explain why.

The Democratic Party has been winning the black vote by huge margins (high 80s) since the black majority shifted from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party starting with, you guessed it, FDR in 1932.

Obama won 95% of the black vote, which is only 1% higher than the previous record of 94% set by LBJ in 1964, following LBJ's support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Obama's 7 point spread with respect to the overall popular vote (Obama's 53% versus McCain's 46%) is better than many including Bush (2000, 2004), Carter, Nixon (1968), JFK.

Obama's electoral college majority (364 versus 163, with Missouri still pending) is at the Clinton levels and is better than many including Bush (2000, 2004), Carter, Nixon (1968), JFK.

Finally, the 2008 voter turnout has been estimated at 64%. The previous voter turnout record was 63% for Kennedy/Nixon. The Bush/Kerry turnout in 2004 was 56%. The 20% increase in the 2008 black voter turnout (from 11% to 13%) is entirely in proportion to the overall increase in turnout of 20% (from 56% to 64%).


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