According to exit polls, the major reason that Trump lost the US presidential election appears to be that he suffered significant losses within his base, driven by a particularly poor performance with White male voters. Trump’s share of male voters in general is down by 5 points in 2020 as compared to 2016. If we look at the changes within that group of male voters, we see that while Trump increased his share of Black male voters by 3.5 points and Latino male voters by 3 points, his share of White male voters dropped precipitously by 7.5 points in 2020 as compared to 2016. His losses in this group were quite large across education levels, with Trump’s share of college educated White men down 8 points since 2016 along with his share of White men with no college degrees being down by an additional 5.5 points. The headway that Trump made with Black and Latino men was apparently far too small to offset the large losses that he suffered from the far larger group of White male voters.
But what about female voters? While exits polls indicate that Trump’s share of female voters remained largely unchanged in 2020 as compared to 2016, it is important to look beneath the surface at the changes within this large group. Trump increased his share of Black female voters by 3.5 points and Latina voters by 1 point, and White female college educated voters by 4 points, but these increases appear to have been offset by 3 point drop in the much larger group of White female voters with no degrees.
The real story here appears to be twofold (1) Despite everything that has been said and done, Trump appears to have increased his performance with college educated White women in general and Black and Latino voters in particular and (2) Trump experienced material and significant underperformance within the largest portion of the American electorate i.e. White men (both college degree holders and non-college degree holders) and White women without college degrees. The question, if exit polls are correct, is what drove Trump’s improvement and underperformance within these respective groups?
Source material: How voters shifted during four years of Trump by By Zachary B. Wolf, Curt Merrill and Daniel Wolfe, CNN https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/11/politics/election-analysis-exit-polls-2016-2020/
National and State exits poll results on CNN.com https://www.cnn.com/election/2020/exit-polls/president/national-results
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About the Author – Shawn D. Rochester is the CEO of Good Steward LLC (GSL) and the founder of PHD Enterprises, and the IDEA Institute. These organizations provide financial education and advisory services to consumers, increase the presence of Black employees and enterprises in US public and private sectors payroll and supply chains, and facilitate commerce between the Black business community across the African Diaspora and on the African continent. Shawn has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from The University of Rochester and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a focus in Accounting, Finance and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America and CPR for the SOuL: How to Give Yourself a 20% Raise, Eliminate Your Debt and Leave an Inheritance for Your Children’s Children. And can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org