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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Race, Ethnicity, and Turnout in 2016

In  Defying the Odds, we discuss race and ethnicity in the 2016 election.

A drop in black turnout hurt Clinton.  An uptick in white turnout helped TrumpFrom the Census:
Voting rates have historically varied by race and Hispanic origin (Figure 2). In 2012, voting rates for non-Hispanic blacks (66.6 percent) were higher than non-Hispanic whites (64.1 percent) for the first time in this series. In 2016, turnout increased to 65.3 percent for non-Hispanic whites, but decreased to 59.6 percent for non-Hispanic blacks.
Figure 2. Reported Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1980-2016

For the most part, from 1980 to 2012, the share of reported voters who were non-Hispanic white decreased from one presidential election cycle to the next (Figure 3).1 In 1980, 87.6 percent of reported voters were non-Hispanic white, but by 2012, this number decreased to 73.7 percent. Over this same period, the distribution of voters who reported being either non-white or Hispanic increased in most elections.2 However, in 2016, for only the second time in this series, the percentage of voters who were non-Hispanic white (73.3) was not statistically different from the previous presidential election, meaning that the consistently observed year-to-year decrease did not occur in this most recent cycle. Additionally, 2016 was only the second election in this series where the share of non-Hispanic black voters decreased, from 12.9 percent in 2012 to 11.9 percent in 2016.3

Figure 3. Share of Reported Voters by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1980-2016