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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Voter ID Backlash, Backfire

State-level voter identification laws:
  1. Lost in court;
  2. Overlooked the far more serious problem of mail-ballot fraud; and
  3. Triggered a backlash that increased black turnout.
National Journal reports:
For African-Americans in Ohio, coming out to vote during this election was personal. Many saw the state’s voter-ID bills as a direct threat to rights denied their ancestors decades earlier. Fueled as much by angst against the ID mandate as enthusiasm for a black president, African-Americans voted at a rate so much higher than 2008 that they may have been the decisive voting bloc.
President Obama captured Ohio, arguably the most important battleground state, thanks to record African-American turnout. The Resurgent Republic, an independent not-for-profit organization that gauges public opinion, pointed out, “If African-American turnout was in line with 2008, Romney would have won Ohio,” according to Politico.
Ohio, with its complex melting-pot populace that crosses many socioeconomic levels, has long been a battleground. National Journal’s Ron Brownstein asserted that Obama took Ohio by focusing on income equality and fairness, a strategy that attracted enough working-class whites and blacks to swing the election. But some observers also point to a 2011 effort to spur blacks to vote.
That plus anger stirred by the still-pending voter-ID bill that passed the Ohio House last year became the impetus that reenergized many African-American voters, said E. Faye Williams, president of the National Congress of Black Women. During a Washington event on the minority vote weeks before the election, Williams told a small group that such laws would likely push minorities to come out in droves.
The exit poll showed that African Americans made up 15 percent up the Ohio electorate in 2012, compared with 11 percent in 2008.  From the Politico story:
LUKE FRANS of Resurgent Republic sends this fascinating analysis of Ohio exit polling: “Romney won the white vote 58-41 (2008: McCain won 52-46). Romney won white men 63-36 (2008: McCain won 53-45). Romney won white women at about the same margin as four years ago, 53-46. But the white vote overall was 79% of the turnout, down 4 points from 2008 (white men: 3 points; white women: 1 point). The Ohio population is about 84% white. Ohio has a low percentage of Hispanic population (3%) compared to the national average (17%) and the exit polling had the Hispanic vote at 3%, a 1-point decrease from 2008. Obama made up the margin by turning out the African American vote, which increased from 11% in 2008 to 15% yesterday. He won these voters 96-4 and the higher turnout more than made up for any slight movement from his 2008 97-2 margin. What's more notable, African Americans make up 12% of the Ohio population, but they represented a higher share of the electorate yesterday. …
“This resulted in a +8 Democratic turnout advantage in the state. And it's difficult to overcome that margin, even considering that Romney won independents by 10 points (53-43) -- which is a net 18-point swing away from Obama since 2008. … If African American turnout was in line with 2008, Romney would have won Ohio. That's how both sides truly believed they were narrowly winning Ohio on Election Day.