Three counties bring Trump’s historic coalition into close focus.
In Ohio, he won because older whites rejected Clinton while African-American turnout was low. In Michigan, a large population without advanced education degrees working in routine service jobs swung heavily in support of Trump. Finally, in Arizona, bachelor’s degree-holders and Hispanics nearly turned the state blue.
Dive into the counties below from each state for a close look at the support behind Trump’s win.
Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland, like many American cities, is split along racial and class lines. One of the big stories of Election Night – Hillary Clinton’s trouble turning out the African-American vote – is directly on display here.
In a state that is much less racially diverse than the nation as a whole, Cuyahoga is a crucial cache of Democratic votes and low turnout there was emblematic of larger problems with the African American vote in the state. The problem was also on display in Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati.
Look at the map below and you’ll notice a lot of red near central Cleveland.
Some of that may have been due to a steep drop in turnout, a decrease of more than 50,000 votes compared with 2012. More than six thousand people who voted also opted not to vote for president despite voting. Fewer Democrats voting in the Rust Belt meant the margins for Republicans increased, even while Clinton had huge turnout in states like California and Washington, where she won easily.
Cuyahoga also shows the story of working class whites flipping to Trump. That sharp bump in Republican votes on the western side of county came from areas that are overwhelmingly white. In the center-East of the city, the slight shift to red shows where African-American turnout was slightly less for the Democrats than 2012. Together, the guarantee of the Obama coalition to deliver this coalition just didn’t arrive for Clinton in Ohio.
Michigan’s Bay County consistently surveys at 90% white, leans older and less than 19% have a bachelor’s degree: an ideal base for a Trump coalition.
Indeed, the single most important point in Donald Trump’s election may have been his ability to win so-called “working class whites,” blue-collar voters without a college degree.
The maps comparing 2012 to 2016 show the Democratic Party in full retreat across the county, with Bay City remaining the only Democratic-leaning area. Across the county from north to south, east to west, the trend was Republican, even around the county’s more urban core in Bay City. This reflects Bay’s population: sometimes Democratic-voting, but not in this election. White voters without a college degree routinely rejected Clinton, making hard swings to Trump across the Midwest.
The result was Trump’s margin over Clinton more than double Romney’s already-large 6 percent margin, and a county nearly total-red for Trump.
Maricopa County, the fourth-largest county in the country and home to Phoenix, delivered Trump more votes than any other county – more than 700,000. That said, he still underperformed compared with Romney’s 2012 performance. In fact, Clinton improved on Obama’s vote totals in over 600 of the county’s 724 precincts.
The Hispanic vote grew as a share of the electorate nationally to 11% and that played a big role in the results in some counties, like Maricopa, where 30% of the population is Hispanic.
The county produced 156,000 more votes in 2016 than it did in 2012 and the strong swing to the Hillary Clinton, particularly in the more densely-populated areas, suggests a lot of that vote was Hispanic. The other driving factor was likely education. Areas like Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe, with highly-educated populations, moved left this year to support Clinton.
Another factor may have been Trump not doing as well with college-educated voters. On the map, those parts of Maricopa to the north and east of Phoenix have larger college-educated populations. Arizona is also home to a large Mormon population, which did was less supportive of Trump than Rmoney.