Much was made throughout the campaign about Trump’s strength among white working class voters, and they supported him in droves. Among whites who did not graduate from college, Trump led Clinton by a margin of about 5-to-2, according to preliminary exit poll data. White college graduates gave Trump only a narrow lead.
But gender mattered more than class. Where white female college graduates voted for Clinton, 51 percent to 45 percent, white male college graduates went for Trump by an even bigger 54-to-39-percent margin.
It is not as if voters were indifferent to the many offensive things Trump did or said. Seventy percent of voters were bothered a lot, or at least some, by Trump’s treatment of women. But 29 percent of those voters still supported him.
Sixty-three percent said that Trump lacked “the temperament to serve effectively as president.” But 20 percent of those voters supported him anyway. And 61 percent said they did not think Trump was qualified to be president. But 18 percent of those voters were ready to elect an unqualified man as president.
What the polls suggested was that a large number of Americans were prepared to throw a fit, regardless of the consequences.
The contours of the vote were not all that different from those of the 2012 election, but Clinton ran slightly behind President Obama’s performance among key groups, small deteriorations in the Obama coalition that hurt her in key states. She won 89 percent of Democrats, down three points from Obama’s share. She won 80 percent of African American men, down seven points from Obama’s showing. These small shifts plus Trump’s working-class gains were enough to swing key states his way.
After the Brexit vote in Britain, many voters woke up the next morning and wondered what they had done to their country. Judging from the doubts many of Trump’s supporters had about him, you wonder — depending on how this turns out — how many will wake up with the same feeling about what they did on Tuesday.