Discuss as:

Obama performance with white voters on par with other Democrats

 

Expanding on our election autopsy report in First Thoughts this morning about the white vote, since 1976, Democrats have never won white voters. Jimmy Carter, a Southerner, came the closest in 1976, winning 48% of it.

Since then, Democrats have ranged from 34% (Walter Mondale in 1984) to 44% (Bill Clinton in 1996).

Obama, in his first election, won 43% of the white vote, the second-highest number for a Democrat since Carter. His 39% in 2012 puts him further down the list of Democrats in the last 10 elections, but only slightly below the average 40.6% share for Democrats through the years.

But more significant: the white vote has become less important. The percentage whites make up of the electorate has steadily declined, from a high of 89% in 1976 to a low of 72% in 2012.

WHITE VOTE IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
2012: 72% of electorate, Romney 59, Obama 39
2008: 74% of electorate, McCain 55, Obama 43
2004: 77% of electorate, Bush 58, Kerry 41
2000: 81% of electorate, Bush 55, Gore 42
1996: 83% of electorate, Dole 46, Clinton 44 (Perot 9)
1992: 87% of electorate, Bush 41, Clinton 39 (Perot 21)
1988: 85% of electorate, Bush 60, Dukakis 40
1984: 86% of electorate, Reagan 66, Mondale 34
1980: 88% of electorate, Reagan 56, Carter 36 (Anderson 8)
1976: 89% of electorate, Ford 52, Carter 48

AVERAGE DEMOCRATIC WHITE VOTE SHARE: 40.6%

TOP DEMOCRATIC WHITE-VOTE GETTERS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

1. Carter (1976) - 48%
2. Clinton (1996) - 44
3. Obama (2008) - 43
4. Gore - 42
5. Kerry - 41
6. Dukakis - 40
7. Clinton(1992) – 39
7. Obama (2012) – 39
9. Carter (1980) – 36
10. Mondale – 34

SOURCE: Exit polls/Roper Center, University of Connecticut