The 2016 Race
How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for TrumpNew demographic estimates for the election, and a look at how the key alliance of Northern white voters and black voters shrank for Hillary Clinton.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/It is entirely possible, as many have argued, that Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect of the United States if the F.B.I. director, James Comey, had not sent a letter to Congress about her emails in the last weeks of the campaign.
But the electoral trends that put Donald J. Trump within striking distance of victory were clear long before Mr. Comey sent his letter. They were clear before WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. They were even clear back in early July, before Mr. Comey excoriated Mrs. Clinton for using a private email server.It was clear from the start that Mrs. Clinton was struggling to reassemble the Obama coalition.
I loved this election analysis by Nate Cohn which differs from some of the earlier post-election data. It is a good corolarry to this recent post: Team Bernie: Hillary ‘F*cking Ignored’ Us in Swing...
It shows that there were so many Trump voters who had voted for Obama plus others who were Bernie people. But it also shows that despite winning 92% of the black people who voted, the loss of black votes, particularly from the young, was a crippling factor in the battle ground states. I'm including the entire article but without the interesting graphics - so check it out on the Times site.
At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 — by a wide margin. Mrs. Clinton was also not matching Mr. Obama’s support among black voters.This was the core of the Obama coalition: an alliance between black voters and Northern white voters, from Mr. Obama’s first win in the 2008 Iowa caucuses to his final sprint across the so-called Midwestern Firewall states where he staked his 2012 re-election bid.
In 2016, the Obama coalition crumbled and so did the Midwestern Firewall.
This spells bad news for the Democrats going forward. In the next session Nate Cohn shows how the Obama coalition didn't hold up - and really, how could it? Did we expect the same number of black people to vote for Hillary as voted for Obama?
The Obama Coalition Falters
The countryside of Iowa or the industrial belt along Lake Erie is not the sort of place that people envision when they think of the Obama coalition. Yet it was an important component of his victory.Campaign lore has it that President Obama won thanks to a young, diverse, well-educated and metropolitan “coalition of the ascendant” — an emerging Democratic majority anchored in the new economy. Hispanic voters, in particular, were credited with Mr. Obama’s victory.
But Mr. Obama would have won re-election even if he hadn’t won the Hispanic vote at all. He would have won even if the electorate had been as old and as white as it had been in 2004.Largely overlooked, his key support often came in the places where you would least expect it. He did better than John Kerry and Al Gore among white voters across the Northern United States, despite exit poll results to the contrary. Over all, 34 percent of Mr. Obama’s voters were whites without a college degree — larger in number than black voters, Hispanic voters or well-educated whites.He excelled in a nearly continuous swath from the Pacific Coast of Oregon and Washington to the Red River Valley in Minnesota, along the Great Lakes to the coast of Maine. In these places, Mr. Obama often ran as strong or stronger than any Democrat in history.In 2016, Mr. Trump made huge gains among white working-class voters. It wasn’t just in the places where Democratic strength had been eroding for a long time, like western Pennsylvania. It was often in the places where Democrats had seemed resilient or even strong, like Scranton, Pa., and eastern Iowa.It was a decisive break from recent trends. White voters without college degrees, for the first time, deviated from the national trend and swung decidedly toward the Republicans. No bastion of white, working-class Democratic strength was immune to the trend.For the first time in the history of the two parties, the Republican candidate did better among low-income whites than among affluent whites, according to exit poll data and a compilation of New York Times/CBS News surveys.According to exit polls, Mr. Trump did better than Mr. Romney by 24 points among white voters without a degree making less than $30,000 a year. He won these voters by a margin of 62 to 30 percent, compared with Mr. Romney’s narrow win of 52 percent to 45 percent.In general, exit poll data should be interpreted with caution — but pre-election polls show a similar swing, and the magnitude of the shifts most likely withstands any failings of the exit polls.Mrs. Clinton’s profound weakness among Northern white working-class voters was not expected as recently as six months ago. She was thought to be fairly strong among the older white working-class voters who were skeptical of Mr. Obama from the start. Most of Mr. Obama’s strength among white voters without a degree was due to his gains among those under age 45.But Mr. Trump expanded on Republican gains among older working-class white voters, according to Upshot estimates, while erasing most of Mr. Obama’s gains among younger Northern white voters without a degree.His gains among younger working-class whites were especially important in the Upper Midwest. Young white working-class voters represent a larger share of the vote there than anywhere else in the country. Mr. Obama’s strength among them — and Mrs. Clinton’s weakness — was evident from the beginning of the 2008 primaries.