President Obama won a second term thanks to record high turnout among black voters and the first-ever decline in the number of white voters, a U.S. Census report released Wednesday shows.
For the first time, African Americans were more likely to vote than non-Hispanic whites were: 66.2% of eligible blacks voted, compared with 64.1% of whites. Since the Census Bureau began publishing voting data by race in 1968, whites had voted at higher levels than black.
"That's a landmark in American history," says William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. "And it's pretty clear that black turnout made a huge difference." His analysis of voting data shows that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have won or tied Obama in the popular vote if groups had turned out at the same rates they did in 2004.
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