Possible Good News For Democrats In Wisconsin Results
The results from last night’s Wisconsin recall seem like a disaster not only for union political power, but in broader terms for Democratic hopes generally in November. But a close look at some numbers that appeared in The New York Times today, in a piece headed “Wisconsin Exit Polls: How Different Groups Voted,” contained one number that might hint at something else.
Governor Scott Walker not only won big among groups where it was expected, such as very high income voters, but won independents, won a majority of voters making more than $50,000 a year, and won majorities in all age groups above 30. Though not winning a majority of union family votes or among women, he nonetheless did rather well even there.
Where Walker’s support was almost non-existent was among black voters. His opponent. Tom Barrett, got 94 percent of the black votes, according to exist polls. Wisconsin being a very white state, however, with just a 6.3 African-American population, this bloc accounted for just 5 percent of last night’s total vote.
What might this bode in other swing states with different demographics come November? According to 2010 Census figures, Iowa has an African-American population of just 2.9 percent. But that percentage jumps to 16 percent in Florida, 12.3 percent in Ohio, and 19.4 percent in Virginia. The percentage is 12.6 for the entire U.S.
Based on what happened in Wisconsin last night, on the demographic numbers cited above, and transposing some Wisconsin numbers to some other swing states, here’s what you’d find:
Black votes would account for approximately 14 percent of total votes in Florida, 11 percent in Ohio, and 16 percent in Virginia — with 94 percent of these totals going into the Democratic column. And if in Wisconsin blacks had accounted for 19.4 percent of the population as they do in Virginia, and 16 percent of total recall voting, and they voted at the same 94 percent for Barrett, Walker would have been trounced.
Pros in both parties, of course, are looking at these same numbers and percentages and drawing the same obvious conclusions. These conclusions are:
Democratic success in November now largely depends on how well they register black voters around the country between now and then, and how well they actually succeed in getting African-American voters to the polls and counted. The success of Republicans, conversely, may well depend on how well they succeed in obstructing, miscounting, disenfranchising, or otherwise keeping down the black vote in key swing states.
Not a very inspiring reality. But there it is.