President-elect Barack Obama owed his success to tremendous support from African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans, according to CNN's latest exit polls.
While Obama attracted more support from white voters than did Senator John Kerry in 2004, he garnered just 43 percent of the white vote while drawing almost all black voters and two out of three Asian and Latino voters, said the polls, published on Saturday.
The data are still preliminary -- and will remain so for months -- but early analysis suggests that the African American share of the electorate grew from 11 percent in 2004 to 13 percent this year.
Over that period, the Latino share grew to 9 percent from 8 percent -- and the number of Latino voters was up by as much as a third. Asian Americans' share of the vote held steady at just over 2 percent, but their number likely also grew, the polls showed.
Though ballots are still being counted in some states, including California, an estimated 131 million voters cast ballots nationally in the presidential election, which represents 61.5 percent of all eligible voters, according to Michael McDonald, a professor of government at George Mason University and an authority on political participation.
That's an increase from the 123 million, or 60.1 percent, who voted in 2004 and is the highest rate of turnout since 1968.
The prominent participation of non-white voters -- and their preference for Obama -- is a demonstration of the increasing electoral strength of a multicultural America, a potency that will grow in coming years, analysts say.
The growing political muscle of Latino and Asian voters signals that, after decades of robust immigration, immigrants and their children and grandchildren are becoming full participants in the American political process, analysts said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2008)