I have produced two maps showing black voting and youth (18-24) voting in the 2004 elections. These are two groups that Barack Obama will win in November, but he needs their turnout to be sky-high, especially in the critical battleground states of Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Ohio.
African American voting rates are low, but not all that low in comparison to whites. But, from this map, we see that there is room for drastic improvement in black turnout in Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Ohio is already at the top end of African American turnout, but because the margin is likely to be razor-thin, getting blacks to the poll on Election Day will be critical to an Obama victory.
The second map illustrates the voting rates of the 18-24 age group. The Midwest leads the way in voting among this age group, while Western and Southwestern states have particularly abysmal turnout rates. The South is marginally better. I was quite surprised to see voting rates of the youngsters at 50% in Mississippi. Senator Obama is pinning his election hopes on winning this group by massive margins. He will. But, will enough of them vote to make a difference, particularly, in Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Ohio? As with black voters, there is plenty of room for improvement and simply increasing the youth vote by 20% in a few battleground states might make the difference.