Black turnout for early voting is down this election cycle; maybe Hillary Clinton needs more of Michelle Obama on the campaign trail. At her rallies, Clinton has been talking about issues that matter to black voters, such as jobs, affordable college, building on Obamacare, and Black Lives Matter.
However, despite promising to tackle these issues if elected, African-Americans are not enthused as they were for Barack Obama. This week, a slew of new data that were released showed that in some battleground states, early voting turnout is lower compared to four years ago. Black turnout for mail-in ballots is also down.
According to polls, in Florida, early voting turnout among blacks is down to 15 percent, which is 10 points lower than it was in 2012. Obama won the Sunshine State twice. It is not all dim in Florida for the former Secretary of State. The Clinton campaign believes it can close the gap with Latino voters.
Early numbers showed that Latinos are running to the polls like never before – some believe that Donald Trump‘s anti-immigrant rhetoric is the main motivator. Hispanic turnout went from 10% to 14%. Another good news for Clinton is the fact that in Florida, white turnout increased from 60% in 2012 to 64% in 2016 and college-educated women are breaking heavily for Clinton.
Early data showed that in North Carolina black turnout has also dropped from 40% in 2012 to 34% in 2016. However, there is another reason why black people are voting less – voter suppression. Four years ago, there were 16 voting locations in Guilford County – this year there is only one.
In Ohio, turnout has decreased in heavily Democratic areas like Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo, according to the New York Times. Barry Burden, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that Clinton might have her coalition. Burden said:
“In 2008 and 2012 black voter turnout rose enough to erase the gap in participation between blacks and whites. The early vote data suggest that black turnout might recede somewhat in 2016 while Latino turnout surges.”
Marc Farinella, who was in charge of Mr. Obama’s North Carolina coalition in 2008, seemed to agree. He explained:
“I’m not sure [a high level of black turnout] is completely necessary for her. She’s got other dynamics and advantages Obama didn’t have.”
Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster and the author of A Black Man in the White House, went on to reveal:
“We’ve had back-to-back elections in this country of high turnout where black voters have set the pace, and it’s going to be really interesting to see if that continues post-Obama.”
Some Dems are still hoping for things to turn around.