Thursday, November 10, 2016

Where Trump Won

Before the U.S. presidential election a number of comparisons were made by commentators between the emergence of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the UK. Now that America has voted we can see that there seem to be many similarities in the types of voters who supported Trump and those who voted to leave the EU in the United Kingdom.

In both the UK and the U.S. what many are calling the 'anti-establishment' vote was strongest in rural areas, while both Trump and Brexit proved far less popular in the inner cities. The reasons for this discrepancy is probably best explained by exploring the huge economic and demographic differences in these two environments.

Bloomberg has created a series of maps visualizing how different demographic groups voted across America. The maps in The Voters Who Gave Trump the White House show that Hilary Clinton was the more popular candidate in the country's wealthiest areas. Trump however outperformed Clinton in lower and middle income areas. Trump was also far more popular in white, lower educated and rural areas of America. He also gained far more support from voters who describe their ancestry as 'American'.

In The Voters Who Gave Trump the White House the New York Times has mapped where Donald Trump surpassed Mitt Romney in America. Trump made huge gains in rural America. Clinton was very popular in large metropolitan areas, however Trump did make huge gains in smaller cities, especially in the once industrial heartland. He was also very popular among white voters without a college education.

The outcomes of the UK's Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election seem to show a big cultural divide in both countries between those who live in inner-cities and those who live in more rural areas. In both elections the anti-immigration argument appears to have proved hugely popular. Ironically it seems to have resonated most in those areas which are the least diverse.

The rural white, lower income, less educated populations of both countries appear to feel left behind by what they see as the establishment elite. The political right in the USA and the UK have found an easy scapegoat to blame for the problems of those who feel left behind in both countries. At the moment the left appears to be struggling to provide an alternative argument as to how they will address the concerns of those who used to be their core support.

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