Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Minority Voter Registration Redux

The other day, I mentioned the Washington Post's story about the "decline" in minority voter registration and some problems that I saw with the argument being made there. I argued that the Post story should not worry Obama supporters as much as it appears because the Obama campaign has advantages in the ground game, because the data showed registration down across all categories and because the lack of a competitive Democratic primary is one reason Democratic voters (and, by extension, many Black and Hispanic voters) are not yet engaged.

Yesterday, Michael McDonald pointed out a better reason to be skeptical of the Washington Post story. The data they are using treats non-responses or "I don't know" as voters who are not registered. When these responses are excluded from all years, registration among minority voters does not appear to have dropped. Indeed, McDonald finds
The corrected data show that Hispanics are registered at a statistically-indistinguishably slightly higher rate than 2006 and Blacks have experienced a significant registration increase. The Obama campaign appears better situated in terms of registering of Blacks and Hispanics in the wake of the 2010 election than in the wake of the 2006 election. That these minority populations are also growing in size relative to the non-Hispanic White population should give more worry to the Romney campaign than to the Obama campaign.
The bottom line is that the 2012 electorate is likely to look a lot more like the 2008 electorate than the 2010 electorate and that is a problem for the Romney campaign.

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