The Importance Of The Minority Vote

Despite the minority population growing at a much faster rate than whites in the United States, there is a disconnect when it comes to voter eligibility. According to the Brookings Institute’s latest census data analysis, while whites make up approximately 63% of the population, they represent 71% of eligible voters.

Unfortunately, the 2012 election is even more dependent on the minority vote than ever before. Obama’s 2008 victory was attributed largely to a higher than usual voter turnout rate for minorities and a slightly weaker turnout for whites. Both these factors contributed to the  significantly higher democratic vote margins in 2008 compared to 2004 leading to Obama’s election.


William Frey, A senior fellow with the Brookings Institute compiled three scenarios based on 2004 and 2008 voter turnout.

Scenario B is the most troubling. In this situation we see a repeat of 2004 turnouts for both whites and minorities. In this scenario, Obama loses the election, highlighting the importance of the minority vote in 2012. Since minorities have a much greater disparity between population size and eligibility to vote, their views are often underrepresented. One way to combat this disparity is through greater voter registration and turnout by minorities.

Frey predicts Scenario C to be the more likely to occur, but for that to happen, minorities need to maintain the same enthusiasm as they had in 2008. In this scenario, Obama only just wins, highlighting the importance of a high minority voter turnout rate to secure a second term for Obama. This election will have minority voters battling for their right to vote as a number of Republican governors have banded together in a thinly veiled attempt to make it difficult for minorities to exercise their right to vote by purging voter registrations under the guise of preventing illegal immigrants from voting.