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Obama and the black turnout question

How much will Barack Obama boost black turnout?

That question lies at the heart of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's campaign to win North Carolina's electoral votes.

At a campaign rally in August, Obama said that he could boost turnout among black voters by 25 to 30 percent — enough, he argued, to put states like North Carolina in play. 

"I guarantee you African-American turnout, if I'm the nominee, goes up 30 percent around the country, minimum," he said, according to USA Today. "Young people's percentage of the vote goes up 25-30 percent. So we're in a position to put states in play that haven't been in play since LBJ." 

That sounds like a tall order, but it's happened before. In the 2000 election, black turnout went up by more than 100,000, or about 25 percent, from the 1996 campaign. And in 2004, black turnout went up again by 154,000, or about 30 percent. 

To make a similar jump this year, black turnout would have to go up by 166,000 to 200,000 voters. 

After the jump, the raw numbers.

—————

Black Turnout in Past Presidential Elections

1996
Turnout: 409,268
Registration: 808,735
Percentage: 50.6 percent

2000
Turnout: 510,890
Registration: 979,448
Percentage: 52.2 percent

2004:
Turnout: 665,392
Registration: 1,114,798
Percentage: 59.7 percent

SOURCE: State Board of Elections 


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Re: Obama and the black turnout question

OK, now I see what you were trying to say. Perhaps instead of saying "go up by 166,000 to 200,000 voters." it would have been clearer to say "go up between 166,000 and 200,000 voters."

Thanks for the clarification.

Re: Obama and the black turnout question

You're misreading, or I was unclear.

It would have to go up by 166,000 to be up 25 percent or 200,000 to be up 30 percent.

Hope that clarifies.

— RTB 

Re: Obama and the black turnout question

"To make a similar jump this year, black turnout would have to go up by 166,000 to 200,000 voters."

Something is wrong with the math in this statement. To go up by 166,000 to 200,000 voters means that the previous turnout was only 34,000 voters!

Re: Obama and the black turnout question

Very interesting RTB. Thanks for doing the research instead of just taking the pundits word when it comes to the feasibility of Obama's plan.

Curious to see that black voters performed at about the same rate of their white counterparts in 2004. If you control for issues like income and education, I'd wager a bet that black voters outperform their white counterparts by a significant margin.

As an aside, it might be interesting to look at what % of these "game-changing" new Democratic registrations are African American.

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