Monday, November 24th, 2008

The Impact of The Hip-Hop Vote

We now have some idea of how hip-hop activism may have impacted the presidential election. According to stats from CIRCLE, those under the age of 45 delivered all of Obama’s margin of victory.

Those under 30 formed the core of his victory. 23 million young voters came out, and nearly 16 million voted for Obama. He won by 9 million votes.

Youth voter turnout increased to 53%, a 4% increase over 2004 and the highest turnout rate since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1972.

All demographics under 30 voted for Obama by huge margins–including 95% of African Americans, 76% of Latinos and 54% of whites.

We don’t yet know what the turnout rates were for young African Americans and Latinos, or the precise racial breakdown of young voters. But we do know that 36% of Under-30 voters were not white, an 8% difference from 30-45s and 20% difference from over-60s.

We also know that 2004 marked a turning point for young African American and Latino voters. That year, for the first time, they made up more than half of all new voters. In this election, 43% of young voters were first-time voters, including 45% of African Americans and 61% of Latinos.

Credit goes to a robust Obama operation. It’s the first time that a party has taken full measure of the importance of young voters and post-Boomer voters of color.

Credit also belongs with the many organizing efforts in the hip-hop world that were largely–and quietly–responsible for the 2004 surge. It’s clear that without their success back then, an Obama candidacy would have been unimaginable.

There is one significant down-note. CIRCLE notes that there remains an economic gap in the voting population. It turns up as a gap in voters’ educational attainment. Those with at least some college-going experience were about twice as likely to vote as those without any.

There are still lots of hip-hop heads alienated from electoral politics. But it’s possible to say that the electorate looks a lot more like the one hip-hop introduced to the mainstream over a decade ago than at any time in the past.

posted by @ 9:34 am | 1 Comment

One Response to “The Impact of The Hip-Hop Vote”

  1. birthplacemag says:

    We (Birthplace Magazine) agree, however, we attribute it more to how hip-hop, in reaching across color, culture and economic lines, did as much to foster racial acceptance as any other force in recent decades, helping to “loosen the jar” for the election of an African-American. None of this of course takes anything away from what seems to be a ridiculously capable man, an awesomely run campaign, and terrible state of national affairs that also were heavy factors, but we believe the positive cultural impact hip-hop has had, was a big part as well.

    Check out how we break it down: How Hip Hop Helped Elect Barack Obama | Birthplace Magazine

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