The last presidential election elicited the most diverse participation ever, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
Ironically, while more Blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans showed up at the polls in 2008 than in the general election four years earlier, there were fewer Whites casting a ballot in this important contest than in the previous presidential election.
Although the nomination of a major African-American candidate had a great deal to do with the higher minority participation, the turnout also reflected the reality of an increasingly diverse U.S. population.
Black women represented stronger than any other racial or ethnic groups, according to the study, which was based on data from the U.S. Census. In all, nearly seven in 10 Black women (68.8 percent) voted in the last election, up more than 5 percent over the previous election.
The next highest participation was among White women, followed by White men, Black men, Latino women and Latino men. Asian men and women were least likely to participate.
“Overall, African Americans accounted for 12.1 percent of the electorate, up from 11 percent in 2004. Black turnout increased by 2 million voters,” The Washington Post reports. “Latinos increased their share of the electorate from 6 percent to 7.4 percent between 2004 and 2008, and, like African Americans, saw their numbers grow by two million voters. The Asian American share of the electorate grew from 2.3 percent to 2.5 percent.”
Compare this to two decades ago, when the presidential electorate was 84.9 percent White. “It has decreased in each presidential election since then, but the sharpest decline came between 2004 and 2008,” the Post writes.