The generation of African Americans pushing criminal-justice issues and institutional racism to the forefront of the presidential election had little effect at the ballot box during this primary season, according to an analysis of exit polling across 25 states.
African Americans account for a larger share of Democratic primary voters this year than they did in 2008, but that is because of older black voters, not higher participation by younger black people.
Across two dozen states where exit polls were conducted in 2008 and this year, black voters older than 45 grew from 12 percent of the electorate on average in 2008 to 16 percent this year. In those same states, black voters younger than 45 made up 11 percent of voters in 2008 vs. 10 percent this year.
Exit polls show African Americans overwhelmingly supported Clinton over Sanders in this year’s primaries and were crucial to fueling her large delegate lead. Clinton won an average of 79 percent support among black Democratic voters, compared with 21 percent for Sanders. Clinton won black voters under age 45 by 33 points across 12 states where exit polls broke down electoral choice by age — and won older voters by a larger 79 points.