While the full dimensions of President-Elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday are not yet clear, with Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire still in play, exit polling data gives a glimpse of the coalition of voters that catapulted a businessman and political neophyte passed a former First Lady and Secretary of State – and into the White House.
According to the exit polls, Trump was propelled in part by unprecedented turnout among white Evangelical voters and blue collar whites.
Evangelicals, who comprised 26% of the electorate on Tuesday, voted 81% to 16% in favor of Trump. That margin pushed Trump’s overall performance with Protestants to 58%, compared to just 39% for Clinton.
Among Catholics, a traditionally Democratic-leaning demographic, Trump also won, beating Clinton 52-45.
With Jewish voters, Trump’s performance was roughly in line with past Republican nominees.
Trump won 24% of Jewish American voters, compared to 71% who voted for Clinton, only slightly more than the 69% who voted for Obama in 2012, and less than the 78% who voted for him in 2008.
Mitt Romney captured 30% of the Jewish vote in 2012, while McCain fell short of Trump’s margin in 2008, winning just 22%. Trump tied George W. Bush’s performance in 2004, and surpassed his 2000 margin of 19-79.
American military veterans also backed Trump strongly, 61% to 34%.
Not surprisingly, Trump carried non-college educated whites by a wide margin, 67% to 28%. But it was college educated whites, a group pre-election polls showed favoring Clinton, that put Trump over the top.
A traditionally Republican demographic, college educated whites backed Trump 49-45, far short of Romney’s margin but enough to secure him victories in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
A prominent gender gap appeared in Tuesday’s vote, with 54% of female voters backing Clinton, compared to just 41% who voted for Trump. Men, on the other hand, backed Trump 53-42.
Despite predictions of a wipe-out among racial minorities, Trump generally made marginal improvements upon Mitt Romney’s performance with non-whites.
Trump won virtually an identical proportion of whites as Romney, beating Clinton 58-37, compared to Romney’s margin of 59-39 in 2012.
Among blacks, Trump won 8% of the vote to Clinton’s 88% – two points better than the 6-93 margin for Romney.
Hispanics also moved slightly towards the GOP, giving Trump a 29-65 margin, compared to Romney’s 26-73. Asian Americans showed an identical margin in 2016, more Republican than the 26-73 margin in 2012.