Achieving validation: Barack Obama and black turnout in 2008

Seth C. McKee, III V. Hood, David Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In this study we examine black voting in the 2008 presidential election. Recognizing the significance of having an African American win the presidency, we evaluate black political attitudes in 2008 vis-à-vis 2004, place black turnout in historical context, and discuss the problem of vote overreporting. The issue of vote overreporting plagues surveys, and this is particularly notable among African American respondents. The momentousness of Barack Obama's candidacy and subsequent election may further complicate black turnout responses. On the one hand, an African American Democratic presidential nominee is expected to mobilize blacks, but on the other hand this situation is also expected to increase the social desirability to misreport voting. To get around this intractable problem with surveys, we evaluate validated black turnout in the state of Georgia, which provides individual-level data on the population of registered voters. The validated black turnout numbers are much lower than those reported in national studies like the Current Population Survey, but our analysis indicates that compared to 2004, African American registration and voting in Georgia were markedly higher in 2008.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • elections
  • political participation
  • presidential elections
  • racial politics
  • voting behavior


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