Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Analysis credits rise in white voters, decline in black voters for Trump's presidential win

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Hillary Clinton said last week that she would have won the 2016 presidential election if it had been held 12 days earlier, blaming Wikileaks and FBI Director James Comey, whom President Trump fired Tuesday, for her loss.

There were many reasons for Clinton's loss; some have cited Trump's landslide in rural areas. But there was a corresponding lack of support for Clinton among some urban voters, particularly African Americans, who had turned out big for President Obama.

Writing on The Washington Post's online "Wonkblog," four researchers note the decline in black voters who voted Democratic in 2012, along with the rise in white Republican voters, many in rural areas. The white-black divide was particularly strong in swing states, which were mostly won by Trump, and perhaps decisive in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, states that had voted Democratic for president since 1988.

Researchers, using data from voter file vendor Catalist, determined that "voter turnout among whites—the racial/ethnic group most strongly in Trump’s corner—increased by 2.4 percentage points in 2016 compared to 2012," write researchers Bernard L. Fraga, Sean McElwee, Jesse Rhodes and Brian Schaffner. The black vote declined by 4.7 percentage points.

In swing states, the black vote declined overall by 5.3 percent, and by 12 points in two key states won by Trump, Michigan and Wisconsin. In Florida, where Trump won by 1.2 points, the black vote was down four points and the white vote was up four points. The Post notes that if white and black voters had cast ballots at the same rate in 2016 as in 2012, then Clinton would have won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which would have put her in the White House. (Read more)

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