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In a first, black voter turnout surpassed white turnout in 2012

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Mark Duncan/AP

(Read caption) Lauren Howie, an Obama voter in 2012, poses outside the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland on April 23. America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and, by most measures, surpassed the white turnout for the first time.

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For the first time, black voters went to the polls at a higher rate than white voters on Election Day 2012 – a shift that gave President Obama the margin of victory he needed to win the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and, as a result, a second term.

Had all racial groups turned out at the same rate as they had in 2004 or '08, Mitt Romney would have won the election, according to a new analysis of census data and exit polling by the Associated Press.

“The 2008 election was the first year when the minority vote was important to electing a US president. By 2024, their vote will be essential to victory,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, who analyzed the data.

For the next decade, whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups, but by 2024, 1 in 3 voters will be nonwhite, according to the AP analysis, released Monday.

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