As we continue our daily updates on the state of the ground game, we want to turn attention to the African American vote. The African American community is solidly and overwhelmingly behind President Obama, because they know he is fighting for all of us, not just some of us.
Our campaign has been committed to organizing in the African American community for years, with our Barbershop and Beauty Salon program, congregation captains, and HBCU summits (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Over the last four years we have built deep roots and recruited and trained members of the community to own and run the campaign in their neighborhoods. As a result, African American volunteers are a strong foundation of our team-based grassroots program.
We’ve seen the community’s strong support in the public polls all year, with President Obama registering leads of 98-2 in key states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Now that voting has begun, we’re seeing it at polling places across the country. The pictures and the numbers tell the same story: African Americans are committed to doing everything they can to re-elect the President.
In the first two days of early voting in Florida, nearly a quarter (23.7 percent) of the electorate was African American. We’ve seen consistently strong turnout in predominately African American areas of Broward and Dade counties, with big crowds patiently waiting hours to cast their votes. Yesterday 1,200 people marched from Bethune Cookman University, an HBCU in Daytona Beach, to vote early.
The historically high turnout among African Americans in North Carolina four years ago was one of the reasons President Obama carried the state by just 14,000 votes. But what’s even more impressive is what’s happening this year: 83,155 more African Americans have already voted this year than had at this point in 2008. More African Americans age 24 and younger are voting this time than in 2008, and the same is true among African America voters between the ages of 25 and 34. In both cases, their share of votes is outpacing their share of the voting population.
We’re seeing these promising trends across the country. Here are a few facts:
- Registration: African-American voter registration is up dramatically since 2008 in every battleground state. It’s especially high in places like Colorado, where it’s up 20 percent, Iowa (13 percent), Nevada (12 percent) and Florida (10 percent).
- Early voting: Early voting among African Americans is up dramatically in battleground states. It’s up 17 percent or more in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina.
- Enthusiasm: African Americans are most enthusiastic about voting in this election—nearly 20 percentage points higher than all voters.
- Vote likelihood: 85 percent of registered African American voters say they will “definitely” vote—higher than all other registered voters.
Every election, more and more African Americans come out to vote. Since 1992, African Americans have increased their share of the electorate nearly every single time—from just 8 percent in 1992 to 13 percent four years ago. Between 2004 and 2008, participation among African Americans grew more than any other group. In 2012, we’re going to see these records break once again en route to re-electing President Obama.