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Honey, They Shrunk the Base: How Democrats Lost Minority Voters in the 2004 Election

Recorded on April 1, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Many political observers have noted that the Democrat Party is a "demographic institution" largely made up of our nation's racial and religious minorities. Yet that may be changing. While Senator Kerry received the majority of black and Hispanic votes, President Bush made significant gains among Hispanics by capturing 44-percent of their vote this year, up from about 35-percent in 2000. Even among African Americans, the President's support rose nationally to 11 percent in 2004 from 9 percent in 2000, reaching as high as 16 percent in the swing state of Ohio.

What happened in 2004 with the black and Hispanic vote? Were the exit polls flawed? Were the losses as great as some believe? Is this migration to the Republican Party a one-shot affair or is this the beginning of a long-term trend among minority voters? Most importantly, what caused the shift and can the two major parties adjust their message to retain (or capture more of) the minority vote in the future?