TOPICS > Politics > Vote 2016

Comparing 2016 to 2012 shows where Clinton fell behind

November 9, 2016 at 6:45 PM EDT
Donald Trump won the Electoral College with gains from the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. To examine the specific demographics behind Trump’s victory, Lisa Desjardins speaks with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, the presidential race is decided, and Republicans will still control both houses of Congress, with slightly smaller majorities.

In the Senate, Republicans won at least 51 seats, and they’re favored to win a runoff in Louisiana next month. Democrats added two more Senate seats, including New Hampshire. Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent.

Over in the House, Republicans won at least 238 seats. Now, that’s down nine from their current number.

HARI SREENIVASAN: We dig in now on what we learned from the presidential results and what voters said leaving the polls.

We turn to Lisa Desjardins, who is joined once again by Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

LISA DESJARDINS: Amy Walter, nine hours we were here together last night. Imagine seeing each other again so soon.

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: I never want to leave here.

LISA DESJARDINS: Thank you for joining us.

AMY WALTER: Of course.

LISA DESJARDINS: So, America is becoming more diverse. And as we look at what happened last night, we had been talking going into this election a lot about race.

That was supposed to help Hillary Clinton, but what actually happened?

AMY WALTER: Yes. And what we saw from the exit polls last night is a couple of things.

The first is, Donald Trump did a little bit better than Mitt Romney did among white voters.

LISA DESJARDINS: I think we have got some data.

AMY WALTER: But not by a whole lot, by one point. You will see Mitt Romney 20 points, Donald Trump 21 points.

But there’s another side of the story is that the African-American and Latino percentage that Clinton got, impressive, winning by 80 and 36 percent, but not the margins that Barack Obama got.

And there is another story in there as well, and I think that we look at white voters. We have been dividing white voters into these different groups. And we have talked a lot about white college-educated voters. These were the voters that the Clinton campaign thought were going to tip the victory to her. She was going to get a combination of the Obama coalition, those younger, more diverse voters, as well as the suburban white women who lived in and around big cities.

She did better than Barack Obama.

LISA DESJARDINS: And this is specifically among white women.

AMY WALTER: White women.


AMY WALTER: But look at — Donald Trump did eight points better among those without a college degree.

Now, she performed 12 points better. He was eight points better. And it showed up on the map.

LISA DESJARDINS: So, what you’re saying here is that she did well with traditional Democratic Obama coalition forces, but just not as well as President Obama.

AMY WALTER: Not as well as President Obama. I think…

LISA DESJARDINS: And did they show up for her as well? You’re saying she didn’t get as high a percentage of those who came to show up, who came to the polls, but did as many blacks, as many Hispanics come out, or did more whites, did they have higher turnout?

AMY WALTER: I was just digging into one state in particular, which was Michigan. And it was clear that Detroit didn’t turn out at the level for her that it did for Barack Obama.

On top of that, she did much worse in some of the exurban or rural parts of the state. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania all tell the same story.

LISA DESJARDINS: That’s what I wanted to get to. I think that was the biggest surprise last night was this blue wall of Hillary Clinton’s. Maybe there never was a wall this year, or certainly collapsed very quickly.

AMY WALTER: I said this on election night.

If you had told me going into this election that a Democrat was going to win Virginia and Colorado, I would have said, well, that candidate is going to probably win the nomination. Those are two big — they were two of the closest states last time.

And that what I wouldn’t expect, of course, is that Wisconsin and Michigan, two states that have gone for Democrats since 1988, would flip to Republican. And a lot of that is built on this, whichever states that have more women who graduated from college, those who have fewer women who graduated from college.

When you look at the numbers in those states, you can see that, in Wisconsin and Michigan, yes, it was a blue wall. It was a blue wall for Democrats when Democrats were doing better among white voters, and specifically white voters who didn’t live in urban areas, or white voters who didn’t have a college education.

LISA DESJARDINS: So, OK, all of this is about demographics. But I wonder, Amy, is the point that last night was not about demographics, that there is something else going on?

AMY WALTER: That’s absolutely true. And I think a lot of us in the business, we got really wedded to this idea of demographics, especially because we watched Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 with this amazing analytics team that told us that you could actually look at the demographics of an electorate and understand where they were going to vote.

LISA DESJARDINS: It’s mathematical.

AMY WALTER: It’s all about math, but really it’s also about message. Barack Obama had a message. It was hope and change. It was that he had the auto bailout. He was working for people.

Hillary Clinton didn’t have that message. It didn’t address the rising anxiety and frustration and anger that’s been brewing there, the time for change theme. Donald Trump did.

LISA DESJARDINS: Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, I look forward to what you find out in the next week of reading through and your analysis.

AMY WALTER: Thank you.