WASHINGTON -- While the 2008 electorate was the most diverse in American history, and voters gave the majority of their votes to Democrats, the 2010 midterm election experienced unusually high participation from older and wealthier voters who strongly favored Republican candidates, according to an analysis released today by the national voting rights group Project Vote.
Two years ago, African Americans, lower-income Americans, and young Americans participated in the 2008 presidential election in historic numbers. This November, however, these groups largely stayed home, as did most Americans. According to the new memo by Dr. Lorraine Minnite, "non-voters were the majority in 2010," a fact that "throws cold water on any victor's claims for a mandate."
The new analysis—based on exit poll data and preliminary results from the United States Election Project—found that turnout in 2010 was similar to 2006, and followed patterns typical of midterm elections. Absent a national race to galvanize new and minority voters, fewer voters turnout and the populations that do vote tend to be older. The racial composition of the population that voted in 2010 closely mirrored that of 2006: eighty percent of voters were white, ten percent were black, eight percent Latino, and two percent Asian.
However, several distinct features of the 2010 voting population stand out, and contributed to the results on November 3:
"It is fair to say that 2010 was the year of older, rich people," Dr. Minnite writes in the study.
"As in most midterm elections, the people who voted in 2010 were not really representative of the American people," saysMichael Slater, executive director of Project Vote. "This study raises serious questions about which constituencies candidates choose to court and engage as they look ahead to 2012, since the electorate, as a whole, is shifting away from the views and values of the older, wealthier white conservatives who dominated the 2010 election."
To read the full research memo, CLICK HERE
Project Vote is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes voting in historically underrepresented communities. Project Vote takes a leadership role in nationwide voting rights and election administration issues, working through research, litigation, and advocacy to ensure that our constituencies can register, vote, and cast ballots that count.