Than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 when he lost the election to President Barack Obama and more white Americans as well as minorities voted for Obama than Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.
Pundits such as CNN commentator Van Jones have attributed Trump’s win on election night to support from white voters, going as far as calling the election “a white-lash against a changing country.” However, according to exit poll data, Trump did not receive a record number of votes from white voters compared to 2008 and 2012 when Obama, the first African American president, was elected and re-elected. Trump also received more support from Hispanics and African Americans than Romney.
Let’s review the exit poll numbers starting with the overall white vote. In total, 58 percent of white voters supported Trump compared to Romney’s 59 percent. Hillary Clinton failed to match Obama’s level of support among white voters, receiving 37 percent compared to President Obama’s 39 percent when he defeated the former Massachusetts governor in 2012.
For comparison, Obama received 43 percent of the white vote in 2008 when he was first elected compared to 55 percent for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
When breaking down the exit poll data of the white vote, we see that Trump beat Clinton among white voters without a college degree by 67 percent compared to her 28 percent. Trump also won white college graduates 49 percent to 45 percent.
Overall, Trump lost college graduates 49 percent to 45 percent and won high school graduates 51 percent to 48 percent. In 2012, Romney won college graduates 51 percent to Obama’s 47 percent while Obama won high school graduates 51 percent to Romney’s 48 percent.
Clinton’s campaign also failed to reach the same level of support Obama received in 2012 from minority voters. Trump won 29 percent of the Hispanic vote on Tuesday compared to Romney’s 27 percent in 2012. Trump fared better than Romney among African-American voters, as well, with 8 percent support compared to Romney’s 6 percent in the last presidential election.
President Obama won 93 percent of the African-American vote in his reelection campaign for president while Clinton came up 5 points short, claiming 88 percent in the same category against Trump. Clinton also fell short of Obama’s numbers among Hispanic voters by claiming 65 percent of the vote compared to Obama at 71 percent in 2012.
Let’s move on to the gender gap. Clinton underperformed Obama among female voters by 1 point. In the last election, Obama won 55 percent of the female vote and Romney won 44 percent. Clinton won women 54 percent to Trump’s 42 percent.
Clinton also lost a lot of ground among male voters. Obama received 45 percent support among men and Romney received 52 percent. Male voters backed Trump 53 percent compared to 41 percent for Clinton — a 4 point drop from Obama’s level of support among men in 2012.
When we break down the female vote by race, we find that Romney performed better than Trump with white women by 3 percentage points, 53 percent compared to 56 percent, and Clinton only received 1 point more than Obama at 43 percent compared to 42 percent.
Among white men, Obama received 35 percent in 2012 while Clinton received 31 percent against Trump’s 63 percent. Similar to Trump, Romney won 62 percent of the white male vote in the last election.
As you can see from the exit poll data we reviewed, Trump is on his way to the White House because Clinton could not reach Obama’s numbers in key categories while Trump matched or surpassed Romney’s overall level of support in most categories. Navin Nayak, the director of opinion research on Clinton’s campaign, reportedly said the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy among Democrats was due to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into her use of a private email server. Shortly before Election Day, Comey announced that the FBI reached the same conclusion from the summer, which was that Clinton and her team did not intentionally violate federal law. Whether or not turn-out was affected solely due to the FBI’s announcement or a combination of reasons, the Obama coalition of voters didn’t transfer to Clinton and that is why she lost in historically-Democratic strongholds of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
In addition to taking the White House, Republicans maintained the majority in the House and the Senate. Republican senate contenders who were critical of Trump’s candidacy lost their reelection fights, including Representative Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).