Politics

Donald Trump’s working-class whites take him to White House

Donald Trump’s working-class whites take him to White House

Donald Trump's working-class whites hitting back on Hillary Clinton 2016 images

Many pollsters and forecasters may be out of a job come next election after the shocking turnaround Donald Trump has given Hillary Clinton.

Pundits felt that Clinton had the election in the bag after Trump had alienated so many minority groups and women, but it turns out that his ferocious following of working-class white men were his ticket to the White House. It’s not over yet, but all the polls, exit polling and forecasting has been thrown out the window as Trump has truly reinvented this election process.

Voters were obviously looking for a change, and whether they felt he was capable of running American didn’t matter to these people. He represented change, but if he wins, are they going to be happy with all the changes?

Americans emphatically declared their anger at government Tuesday as they elected a political outsider who failed to generate much excitement but offered the prospect of change.

Exit polls recorded the simmering discontent of the American electorate.

Four in 10 voters said they were hungry for change, and those voters overwhelmingly favored Republican Donald Trump. Smaller voting blocs who were seeking a candidate with good judgment, experience or who cared about them favored vanquished Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Nearly 7 in 10 voters said they were unhappy with the way the government is working, including a quarter who said they were outright angry, according to preliminary results of exit polls conducted for pollsters and television networks by Edison Research.

Three-fourths of those angry voters backed Trump. Six in 10 voters said the country is on the wrong track.

Other findings from the exit poll:

TO BE HONEST …

Neither Trump nor Clinton gets bragging rights when it comes to honesty.

About 6 out of 10 voters said they don’t view Clinton as honest and about the same share felt the same way about Trump.

Opinions were more mixed on the question of temperament.

More than half of Americans said Clinton had the temperament to be president and about a third felt the same about Trump.

THE GENDER GAP

Tuesday’s election was on track to produce one of the largest gender gaps since 1972, when the first national exit poll was taken.

The gender gap for Clinton – the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her – hit 13 percentage points, according to preliminary results of exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.

Clinton’s support among women was roughly even with the support that women gave Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. The bigger factor in this year’s wide gender gap: less-educated white men, who favored Trump far more heavily than they did Romney in 2012 or GOP nominee John McCain in 2008.

The only presidential candidate that came close to Clinton’s apparent gender gap this year was Democrat Al Gore, who had a 12-point gender gap in 2000.

TRUMP’S WORKING-CLASS WHITES TRUMP CLINTON’S COALITION

Trump won by dominating among white voters, especially non-college-educated men, trumping Clinton’s coalition of women, minorities and young people.

Trump, who once famously declared that he loved the uneducated, got plenty of love back from white voters who never graduated from college: He got 7 in 10 votes from non-college-educated white men and 6 in 10 votes from non-college-educated white women.

The advantage Trump had among whites without a college degree compared with whites who graduated from college was the largest seen in exit polls for a Republican since the surveys started in 1972.

Clinton, meanwhile, got the support of less than a quarter of white men without a college degree; Barack Obama, by contrast, drew about a third of their votes four years ago.

Clinton did make some inroads with college-educated white women. Just over half supported her, while four years ago just over half of that group had backed Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.

THE GENDER GAP

It was Trump’s working-class white men who helped to produce a gender gap with a capital “G” for Clinton.

Tuesday’s election was on track to produce the largest gender gap since the exit poll began: The gender gap for Clinton – the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her – hit 13 percentage points.

Clinton’s support among women was roughly even with the support that women gave Obama in 2008 and 2012. The bigger factor in this year’s wide gender gap: less-educated white men, who favored Trump far more heavily than they did Romney in 2012 or GOP nominee John McCain in 2008.

The only presidential candidate that came close to Clinton’s gender gap this year was Democrat Al Gore, who had a 12-point gender gap in 2000.

RACIAL SPLIT

Even with his tough talk about Mexican immigrants, Trump held on to roughly the same share of Hispanic voters as Romney had claimed four years ago. Likewise, he was drawing about the same levels of support from black voters as Romney won.

The Republican was drawing about a quarter of Hispanic voters and about less than 1 in 10 black voters.

Clinton did better with Hispanic voters who were naturalized citizens, getting about 8 in 10 of their votes. She got about 6 in 10 Hispanic voters who were born U.S. citizens.

Trump was winning more than half of white voters, who made up 70 percent of the electorate.

MILLENNIAL MAGIC

Clinton managed to hang on to the millennials who were such a big part of Obama’s winning coalition.

Young people age 18-29 supported Clinton over Trump by nearly as strong a margin as their support of Obama over Romney in 2012.

Those between 30 and 44 also were much more likely to support Clinton than Trump. Trump won the favor of those 45 and over.

PESSIMISM AND ANGER

There were grim strains woven into voter sentiments as they cast their ballots.

Nearly 7 in 10 voters said they were unhappy with the way the government is working, including a quarter who were outright angry.

Six in 10 voters said the country is seriously on the wrong track and about the same number said the economy was either not good or poor.

Two-thirds see their personal financial situation as either worse or the same as it was four years ago. One in three voters said they expect life to be worse for the next generation.

Among those voters looking for a candidate who can change things, more than 8 in 10 described the economy as not good or poor.

TIMES TWO

What kind of impact did third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have on the race? They siphoned more votes from Clinton than from Trump.

A quarter of Johnson and Stein voters said they would have backed Clinton if they had to pick between the two major-party candidates. About 15 percent would have backed Trump.

But most Johnson and Stein voters said they would have just stayed home if their only choices were Clinton and Trump

HOLDING THEIR NOSES

Americans held their noses as they picked between Clinton and Trump: More than half of voters cast their ballots with reservations about their candidate or because they disliked the others running.

That was true both for those backing Democrat Hillary Clinton and those supporting Republican Donald Trump, the exit polls showed

After a long, hard-fought campaign, just 4 out of 10 voters strongly favored their candidate. That’s a marked shift from 2012 when about two-thirds of voters said they were voting because they strongly favored their candidate.

The prospect of a Clinton or Trump victory was downright scary to plenty of voters: Seven in 10 Clinton voters said they’d feel scared by Trump victory; 6 in 10 Trump voters felt the same about a Clinton win.

WOMEN’S ISSUES VS. EMAIL ISSUES

After all of the sound and fury over Trump’s treatment of women, it turned out the issue bothered half of all voters a lot – and women were more concerned about it than men.

About 6 in 10 women were bothered a lot, compared to about 4 in 10 men, the exit poll found.

The partisan divide on the issue was stark: More than 8 in 10 Clinton voters were bothered a lot by the GOP candidate’s treatment of women, compared to about 1 in 10 Trump voters.

It turned out voters were somewhat less concerned about Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

That issue mattered a lot to about four in 10 voters, including about 9 in 10 Trump voters. Less than 1 in 10 Clinton’s supporters were bothered a lot.

Older voters were more inclined to say they were bothered by Clinton’s email issue: About half of voters age 50 and older were bothered a lot, compared with about 4 in 10 younger voters.

TO BE HONEST …

Neither Trump nor Clinton gets bragging rights when it comes to honesty.

About 6 out of 10 voters said they don’t view Clinton as honest and about the same share felt the same way about Trump.

Does anyone think both of these candidates are honest? That number was in single digits.

Opinions were more mixed on the question of temperament.

More than half of Americans said Clinton had the temperament to be president and about a third felt the same about Trump.

TWO-TIMERS

What kind of impact did third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have on the race?

They siphoned more votes from Clinton than from Trump.

But most Johnson and Stein voters said they would have just stayed home if their only choices were Clinton and Trump

ABOUT THAT WALL

After all the talk during the campaign about immigration, it turned out to be a low priority for most voters: Just 1 in 10 voters said immigration was the most important issue facing the country.

As for Trump’s plan to build a “big, beautiful” wall, more than half of voters opposed the idea.

Further, 7 in 10 Americans thought immigrants now in the country illegally should be allowed to stay, and just a quarter thought they should be deported. That despite Trump’s tough talk about removing those who are in the country illegally.

Immigration was the top issue for about a fifth of Trump voters and less than 1 in 10 Clinton voters. Twenty percent of Hispanics chose immigration as the top issue. Only about 10 percent of other voters picked it as the No. 1 issue.

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