Sunday, November 11, 2012

Race and the Vote: More Historical Context

An earlier post presented exit poll data showing that, in every presidential election since 1972, the Republican has carried the white vote while the Democrat has carried the black and Hispanic vote.  There were no exit polls before 1972, but pre-election Gallup polls provide the closest equivalent.  The categories are different ("white" v. "nonwhite") but the overall pattern is roughly the same.  With one exception, whites voted Republican and nonwhites voted Democratic.

The exception was 1964, when Lyndon Johnson won a huge victory because of:
  • Prosperity,
  • The appearance of peace (though Vietnam was going more poorly than the government let on),
  • A wave of sentiment following the JFK assassination,
  • LBJ's political skills, and
  • Barry Goldwater's political blunders.
LBJ managed to win a solid majority of the white vote and practically all of the nonwhite vote. Before this year, Republicans could typically win double-digit nonwhite support, but things changed when Goldwater alienated African Americans by voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The GOP share among nonwhites has never recovered.




1952
1956
1960
1964
1968
White
R
57
59
51
41
47
D
43
41
49
59
38
Nonwhite
21
39
32
6
13
D
79
61
68
94
87