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Black voters could decide who controls the Senate

 
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JasmineE02 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 9:54am

Black voters could decide who controls the Senate in 2015. Here’s how.

By Aaron Blake Updated: April 23 at 9:00 am

Black voters played a huge role in delivering Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and 2012. And in 2014, they will play a huge role in determining whether the president's party can stop Republicans from taking the Senate.

Why? Here's four reasons:

1. Black voters are hugely influential on the 2014 map

Six of the 16 states with the highest black populations are holding key Senate contests in 2014. A seventh -- the most African American state in the country, Mississippi -- is holding a contest that could get interesting if there's a tea party upset in the GOP primary.

This is a highly unusual set of circumstances, especially when you consider that most states with large numbers of African American voters generally don't hold competitive Senate races because they are safely red (in the South, generally) or blue (in the Northeast).

What's more, black voters don't just matter to a lot of races; they also matter to the most important races.

Three of the states listed above -- Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas -- are widely considered to be the most pivotal when it comes to the GOP's hopes of winning the majority. These three races are expected to be the difference between a GOP majority and a Democratic majority -- at least the way things look right now.

2. Black voters are among the biggest midterm dropoff voters

An increase in African American turnout was huge for President Obama's 2008 election and 2012 reelection, but history shows black voters are generally much less apt to vote than white voters, and that trend is even more pronounced in midterms.

The charts below, from the great Monkey Cage blog, show the states in which black turnout (as a percentage of registered black voters) has outpaced white turnout in recent elections. They are the green states. States where whites outpaced African Americans are denoted by increasing shades of red:

Looking at the last two presidential elections (on the right), a majority of states featured higher black turnout than white turnout in 2008, and most states with available exit poll data in 2012 showed the same.

In the 2006 and 2010 midterms (on the left), though, black turnout outpaced white turnout in just five and four states, respectively.

In addition, if you look just at the seven states with Senate races listed above, five of them had higher black turnout than white turnout in 2008, and three had the same in 2012. None of them had that distinction in either 2006 or 2010. And in many of them, black turnout lagged far behind white turnout.

3. Louisiana tells that tale

The above numbers come from exit poll data, which can be somewhat dodgy. But we've got more specific data from one of the most important states on the map: Louisiana.

The Pelican State just happens to keep detailed turnout numbers for all of its elections -- heroes! -- which allow us to make some more precise comparisons.

This chart looks at the percentage of the statewide vote that was black in every major election going back to the 1998 midterms (including odd-year governor's contests):

The average black share of the vote in the four presidential elections: 28.5 percent. The average black share of the vote in the other eight races: 26 percent.

Viewed another way, the average black share of the vote with Obama on the ballot is 30.1 percent. The average black share of the vote in the two midterms preceding Obama's wins drops to 25.3 percent. That five-point difference should not be underestimated, for the following reason...

4. Basically every black voter who stays home is a Democratic voter who stays home

PBS's Domenico Montenaro has noted that several key 2014 Senate states also have significant Latino populations. And while this important group is also prone to the midterm dropoff, it doesn't loom as large -- both because there are more black voters in these key states and because Latinos, while clearly favoring Democrats, aren't as politically homogeneous.

Black voters generally vote more than 90 percent Democratic, so just about every drop in turnout among black voters pretty clearly comes at Democrats' expense.

Let's say the black share of the vote drops 4 to 5 percent again in Louisiana in 2014. That's essentially 4 to 5 percentage points that a Democrat running in 2012 would have locked up but a Democrat running in 2014 -- Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), in this case, will have to make up.

And given that many of the states listed above have limited Democratic bases to begin with -- particularly in the Southern states where Republicans now dominate federal elections -- Democrats need to do something to get black voters to turn out in higher numbers than they have the last two midterms.

Expect Democrats to make significant pushes against the GOP's expansion of Voter ID -- which the left contends is targeted at reducing the black vote -- and the Supreme Court voiding part of the Voting Rights Act.

Their majority might very well depend upon it.

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kfoxx1998 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 12:01pm
Hell yes!  We need a "Take The Senate Movement" in full swing starting NOW.  The DNC and the Obama administration have to realize this is within their grasp and go for it.  2016 is not going to be a good year for Republicans but if we can move them far from control in the Houses of Congress in 2014 and 2015 we could actually get some sh*t done!
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JasmineE02 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote JasmineE02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 12:12pm
Yeah, this has been the least effective congress since the civil war. Dead  I know government is supposed to be slow and methodical...but this is some bullsh*t.  I voted in the 2014 Virginia election and the Democrats swept the statewide seats.  I was so thankful to have ANYONE except Ken "The Cooch" Cuccinelli for governor. LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 12:20pm
I see why Repubs were quick to restrict voting rights before the midterms smh.

NC needs all the help we can get.

I just need Sen. Renee 'I need my paycheck during the govt shut down I voted for' Elmers to get voted out asap. Her district needs to be reminded of her tomfoolery.Stern Smile
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JasmineE02 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote JasmineE02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 12:25pm
I remember that.  I'm glad people called her out back then and I hope they put it on posters everywhere.  Dead  North Carolina and Florida are tied for second place right now for the most frustrating governments.  Texas is always first. Stern Smile  Oh and Louisiana...Michigan...you know what.  Most states need to work on getting their sh*t together. LOL
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carolina cutie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 12:57pm
^IA!

I need my fam to get it right in La. I love it there but darn it they have the least sneakiest guv'mint employees. Always getting caught lol
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BeatriceBean View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote BeatriceBean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2014 at 1:04pm
Let's make it happen!
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Traylee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Traylee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 24 2014 at 5:18pm
If we get up off our azzes and vote we can most definitely decide who controls the Senate. We played ourselves in 2010 when we decided we had more important things to do during a redistricting year. Just imagine what would've happened and what our great president could've accomplished if we had come out in force that year. If we don't go vote, you best believe they WILL impeach our president. They can't wait to impeach him. 
If we go out in vote in the numbers we did in 2012, Democrats would not only keep the Senate, they could take back the House. Taking back the House would mean the Paycheck Fairness Act gets passed (the average woman is cheated out of over $400,000 in pay in her lifetime), raise the minimum wage (a rising tide raises all ships), get a jobs program passed, immigration reform, universal pre-k, etc. We have the power, we just have to use it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iliveforbhm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 24 2014 at 6:03pm
I won't be voting unless we have a real democracy not a republic.
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JasmineE02 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote JasmineE02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 24 2014 at 6:06pm
You have a much bigger impact at the local level.  The guys I voted for won by about 100 votes. 
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