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Breaking down the results of the 2016 US presidential election (part two)

Breaking down the results of the 2016 US presidential election (part two)

In part one of our election review, we looked at the results of the election by state and region, and what they indicated for the Democrats, Republicans and third parties. In this second part, we will be looking more closely at some of the states that mattered, to discover exactly where it was that Trump won the election.

States are in alphabetical order. Maps are courtesy of the New York Times, voting figures are from the respective state electoral commission.


Dem – 8,753,788 (+899,503)
Rep – 4,483,810 (-356,148)
Oth – 943,997 (+599,693)

California stands out at this election for how unrepresentative it is of the election as a whole. It is one of only five states (plus D.C.) in which the Democrats gained votes and the Republicans lost votes, and the only of those states in which the Democratic gain was over 100,000 votes.

Unsurprisingly, the shift in the votes predominately came from the major urban centres. Amongst the inner-city counties of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara, the blue vote increased by 485,727, more than half of Clinton’s gains in California. There was also some increase in her vote in suburban/coastal northern California, with a collective increase of 146,277 in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo Counties. But it’s in southern and eastern California, traditionally stronger Republican territory, where Clinton made the most impressive gains. Removing San Diego and Los Angeles, her vote increased in SoCal by 236,937, including flipping Orange County with a 180,000 vote turnaround.

Donald Trump’s unpopularity in the OC is, I think, indicative of the enormous political shift that has occurred, as Orange County has not voted Democrat since 1936. It is reflective of both a cultural shift that has occurred within the county, and indeed across the other coastal counties, and also of a political shift that has occurred within the Republican Party, which is not appealing to these counties like, say, Mitt Romney was. On the other hand, Trump’s vote in Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino actually increased, while his overall vote in the counties he won was more or less exactly the same as it was in 2012. It was in the urban centres, where Clinton and the third parties gained votes, that his losses occurred, presumably due to the aforementioned cultural and political shifts.

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