The one graph that tells you why Donald Trump won the presidency


If you want to know why Donald Trump pulled one of the great political upsets of our time, there is one graph from CNN’s exit poll data that explains it:

trump-win-graph

This was a change election. If that 39 percent figure for “most important candidate quality” doesn’t seem all that large, consider that the largest quality in 2012 (“vision for the future”) got only 29 percent and the largest in 2008 (“can bring change”) got 34 percent.

That’s right: This was more of a change election than even 2008.

And Trump won change voters by 69 points. That was slightly less than the margin by which Barack Obama won those voters eight years ago (80 points). But it was the only one of these four categories he led in; heck, it was the only one he even came close in. That, clearly, is the biggest reason voters gave him the nod over Hillary Clinton.

What kinds of changes were they looking for? Here’s what we see about issues from the exit poll:

  • Fighting terrorism was tops. A majority of voters (52 percent) said the fight against ISIS is going badly vs. 42 percent who said it’s going well. Trump won the first group by about the same percentage as Clinton won the latter. Trump did far less well on the question of foreign policy more generally, losing those voters 60-34. That suggests Trump’s comments that called NATO and other U.S. alliances into question weren’t as well-received.
  • Immigration came next. Of the voters who said that was their top issue (13 percent of the electorate) Trump won 2-to-1. It’s clear, however, that these voters represent the minority viewpoint when it comes to solving this issue: Seventy percent said illegal immigrants should be offered legal status vs. a quarter who said they should be deported; Clinton won the first group, Trump the second. And the idea of building a wall across the entire southern border lost by 13 points (54-41) with Clinton winning the majority viewpoint and Trump the minority.
  • Trade also came up big. The electorate was roughly split as to whether international trade creates jobs (38 percent) or takes them away (42 percent). Trump won the latter group by a larger margin (65-31) than Clinton won the former (59-35).
  • Finally, the Supreme Court played a far larger role than usual, no doubt the result of the vacancy created earlier this year by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. A startling 21 percent of voters called appointments to the high court “the most important factor” in their vote (compared to just 7 percent eight years ago). Trump won these voters 56-41; Clinton won all other groups on this question.

If you’re looking for a mandate — and with Trump likely clearing 300 electoral votes while the GOP against all odds held onto the Senate and lost very few seats in the House, I think the president-elect has one — those are the makings of it. Trump has to fight ISIS in a way that Americans deem more successful. He has to settle the immigration issue in a long-term way, though he should be cautious of overreaching given his solutions didn’t garner majority support (this may be a place where his reputed prowess at deal-making has to come into play). He has to make trade deals more palatable to American workers, again keeping in mind the country as a whole may be reluctant to see drastic change there. And he has to make solid, conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.

I should add here that, in addition to what the specific exit-poll data says, the “change” Trump was hired to make also includes a fundamental shift in the relationship between the government in Washington, D.C., and the governed. As he said in his victory speech early this morning, his campaign was “a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.” There are a great many people in this country who believe the ruling class has been serving itself, not the people. That is the biggest, if least specific, change Trump has to bring about.

That’s more than enough to fill an agenda for the early Trump administration. If he handles those things well, the GOP’s electoral prospects in 2018, when Democrats will have to defend a number of vulnerable seats (although Republicans must guard against the usual midterm backlash against the president’s party), mean he could receive a further mandate to do more.

Reader Comments 0

229 comments
Patrick Ballenger
Patrick Ballenger

From improvement and stability to fear, racism and a complete dumpster fire. Change indeed ahahah

Joyce DiDonato
Joyce DiDonato

Tired of the corruption and didn't like where the country was heading!!!

Gene Hane
Gene Hane

He won becuase we're tired of the rhetoric and politics being called racist...

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

because people are sick of the establishment and corruption in DC duh

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

If Trump can just not lash back at every perceived slight, try not to insult the disabled, and admit he doesn't know everything and seek out some qualified advisors (and I don't mean Sarah Palin) it would sure be nice. Wonder if that's possible or is he really the person on the campaign trail?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I used to listen to this band exclusively, the only band I listened to, from the day they released appetite for destruction until the day they broke up. The breaking up part seriously pi$$ed me of so much that I never listened to them again, how many albums could they have released if they hadn't let the petty differences divide them? I never posted any of their songs in all the years I've been on these blogs, and you know it. I didn't even want to listen to them.


A couple of months ago, somebody was playing one of their songs in earshot and it made me realize that I had been depriving myself, all these years, of such greatness. Isn't it strange the way this path has paralleled that which our country has taken? Do you realize what we have been missing while we let our petty differences rule the day? Why can we not make great music together once again?


<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8SbUC-UaAxE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

VetsAgainstHillary
VetsAgainstHillary

An amazing victory.  Trump out lasted, what, 16 seasoned Republicans.  Then, somehow, defeated a career politician of 30 years. 


How come Bookman looks like he got his asp kicked by Barbara Bush?  Blahahaha.....


DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!!!

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

Some of us remember the last Republican, his wars and his economic collapse.

Starik
Starik

@knowsmorethanthegenerals VetsAgainstHillary? What about Vetsfordraftdodgers?  Vetsforunnecessary wars? Vetswholikesixormorecombattoursinstupidwars?
 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

It's not Friday night and it's not bookman's blog but I have a musical message for any democrats that want to obstruct the process of making America great again -



<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzVxcolvAlM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



Walk all over you.



Or you can peacefully join us.


Fact.

VetsAgainstHillary
VetsAgainstHillary

And exactly how many people were part of another CNN useless poll?  500??  1000??? Hillary came out on top with good judgement?......pretty funny.  Only the AJC would use CNN as a reliable source. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Reading some of our liberal friends comments on here and over on the neighboring blog it is apparent that they can't accept the fact that they actually lost this election. It will probably take a few more days for them to finally get their angst under control. Libs you lost get over it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I think the word you wanted to use but couldn't is "inevitable."


“I think Tuesday night was a tremendous loss that must sit at the feet of the political establishment of a Democratic Party that preordained the primary process from the very beginning,” said Sroka, whose group backed Sanders in the primaries. “The folks that enabled the loss need to step back and let the grass roots lead it.”



Which is exactly what Trump did. And we thank you for this opportunity. Now we have a leader who knows how to negotiate and bring two sides together as one. And has a great personality, once you ignore the media and listen to him for yourself. It is going to be a very long time that the Republican party is entrenched at the helm of the United States. And it isn't just the fact that our opposition clings to the same old, same old, it is because we are going to deliver on our promises. To ALL Americans.

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

An amazing personality. Just tremendous. Believe me. Just ask Lyin' Ted or Little Marco. Trump would have been the most popular boy in my 5th grade class. We grew out of it but a lot of people are stuck there.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Talk about fooling yourselves -



In the wreckage of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, liberal lawmakers and advocacy groups have started plotting a major overhaul of the Democratic National Committee, with the aim of using the staid organization to reconnect the party with working-class voters it lost to President-elect Donald Trump.



https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/10/liberal-democrats-lash-out-at-dnc-say-overhaul-needed-to-woo-back-working-class-voters/



So what are you going to tell the warmists, anarchists and immoralists? Because the two don't mesh. You can't have your cake and eat it too. 


Why don't you quit breathing life into the crazies and rejoin polite society? (Duh)

IggyDad
IggyDad

All this shows is that people were duped. No "analysis" changes that.


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Eye wonder @SGTGrit @Stephenson_Billings 

"Fuher", most of us who voted for Trump, were never asked to refer to him in that way but you can if you're foolish enough to do so. But having said that it sounds as though you agree that the dregs of our society supported Hillary Clinton. Doesn't say much for her as your candidate. Does it?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@SGTGrit @Stephenson_Billings Geo Soros probably trying to find gainful employment for his former Occupy crew.   


I think Soros may be the wannabe fuhrer, he is always paying Democrats to be disruptive. 

Greg Alto
Greg Alto

Obama's "change" wasn't -- it was just continued overstep of authority and executive order lawmaking in defiance of people's wishes.


Clinton promised to be more of the same.  


People were DONE with that.


WWTJD
WWTJD

Trump got fewer votes than Romney in 2012, McCain in 2008, and Bush in 2004.  A mandate -- yeah, right

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@IReportYouWhine @WWTJD

Irrespective. Looks like one way or the other the fuhrer will get less popular votes than Clinton. I guess that's mandate enough for a fascist.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Anyone in the mood for a good laugh go over and read Bookman's six dire predictions for the Trump Presidency. Just substitute Obama's name for Trump and you'll be reading one of the best analysis for Obama's post presidential legacy. LOL

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

A few more predictions -


The unemployment number will be upwardly adjusted to what it actually is, because the Census Bureau can't hide the falsification with a bunch of Cons crawling all over the place. This upward "trend" will of course be blamed on Trump's election.


Government thermometers all across the national weather stations will be recalibrated to read the actual temperature, instead of 10 degrees higher. This will lead to the discovery that we are already in another Ice Age.


If anyone from the IRS owes you money, be sure to collect on it soon. Ditto with the DoE. 


The paper shredding industry in and around Washington, DC will see a remarkable spike in business from now until January 20th, 2017.


America will soon be great again.







AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

This is fox news, mind you


Trump traveled to Washington from New York on his private jet, breaking with protocol by not bringing journalists in his motorcade or on his plane to document his historic visit to the White House.


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/10/obama-trump-meet-at-white-house-discuss-transition-power.html


I don't think y'all quite understand what has happened here. You broke protocol many decades ago, and sure, maybe bushie let you ride in the limo, but this is like a new day in America.


Take the train.

NavalAviator
NavalAviator

Everyone protesting (not sure what) in the streets: you are why your candidate lost.  Your actions are why your candidate lost.  I don't even support him, but you disgust me.  Your intolerance, vitriol and spoiled entitlement is why you lost this election.  Labeling anyone who didn't align with you 99% on every issue a monster/ist/phobe/ite at the top of your lungs; that's not the best way to attract people to your viewpoint.


You drove people to vote for Trump because they couldn't stand the thought of you, in your echo chambers/safe spaces, being the face of this country.  Your verbal assaults of everyday people just trying to make ends meet doesn't resonate anymore.  Everyone is a racist/homophobe/islamophobe/misogynist in your eyes.  You use the word "hate" without proper context.  All of these words have lost impact because you have used them to label even the most benign perceived slights.  Therefore, everyone defaults to your labels.


As an aside - do you see the irony?  Your quest for more expansive government controlled everything utopia is GREAT...as long as you're in charge.  When you aren't, it's called tyranny.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@NavalAviator The demonstrations are wrong, silly and disgraceful. But let’s keep in mind that they amount to a very small percentage of the voters. To generalize them to “Your actions are why your candidate lost “and “Your intolerance, vitriol and spoiled entitlement is why you lost this election” is also silly.

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

Is this Fox, Infowars or Breitbart? Hard to tell as they all sound alike.

BAW
BAW

Insightful and balanced, great article Kyle.

abbmom
abbmom

Kyle - 


I'm not trying to be nasty with these questions; I'm genuinely curious: Did you believe and state publicly that President Obama had a mandate when he won 365 electoral votes and 52.9% of the popular vote in 2008, particularly in regard to universal health care, which was a detailed and prominent part of his campaign? Did you believe and state publicly that he had a mandate when he won re-election in 2012 with 332 electoral votes and 51.1% of the popular vote, after Obamacare had been implemented? 


And can Trump really be said to have a mandate when he actually lost the popular vote? (I know that he won the electoral college and that's that, so he's the president, but I think calling his win a mandate is a stretch when more Americans voted for his opponent.) 


Thanks!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@abbmom 

Obama, did have a mandate but it doesn't cancel out congress from being a coequal branch of government. As you recall he didn't have the votes in congress to pass the poorly crafted ACA or Obamacare. He bypassed congress and the ACA was signed into law. Obamacare, was rejected by a large segment of the electorate and Obama's job favorability plummeted. Obama, lost both mid-term elections in his two terms as president. He also lost this current national election that resulted in Trump becoming president elect. Because Obama and his administration campaigned so hard for Hillary Clinton, her loss is seen as a repudiation of the Obama, presidency. And BTW....we're a republic not a pure democracy. That's why we have an electoral college method for electing presidents. If you take a look at the electoral map you can understand why Trump, won the election but fell somewhat behind in the popular vote. This was a huge win for Republicans as they will have in January control of the executive branch, the legislative branch and control of SCOTUS nominations. Because this was a change election Trump, will have considerable power with his party's control of congress to pursue his agenda.

abbmom
abbmom

@SGTGrit @abbmom I understand that the electoral college decides our presidential election; that's why I said that it did. But a mandate is an expression of public sentiment, and popular vote totals are also a measure of that sentiment. 


And what the heck do you mean that Obama bypassed Congress in passing the Affordable Care Act? The Affordable Care Act was passed by both houses of Congress. It passed without any Republican votes, because Republicans decided from Day One to obstruct, period, but it passed and was then signed into law by the President. Democrats were able to vote in sufficient numbers for the ACA. That in no way equals "bypassing Congress."  

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @abbmom "Obama, did have a mandate but it doesn't cancel out congress from being a coequal branch of government."

True, which is why it is so telling that the job approval rating of Obama is so high, and the job approval rating of the Republican-dominated Congress is so low.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit @abbmom 

As we learned Tuesday evening the poll accuracy was non-existent. IMO the poll accuracy inflating Obama's job approval is also inaccurate and unreliable. I'll site two points one, the poll depicting the nations right track, wrong track has shown throughout Obama's presidency that 70% of the country says the nation is on the wrong track. Two, Obama, campaigned mightily for Hillary Clinton, saying publicly that it was necessary to elect Clinton to carry on his legacy even admonishing Black voters that if they didn't get out and vote for Hillary, they would be voting against him. We know the result of the election. Blacks and millennials didn't turn out in the numbers expected. I would say that those results are a repudiation of the Obama, presidency not an endorsement of it.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV @abbmom I hate to repeat myself, but I will, because you keep failing to understand the facts.

There is a big difference between pre-election poll accuracy and accuracy of an opinion we are talking about here. Also, it is quite amusing when you deny the accuracy of the poll rating of Obama’s job performance, and then argue with the poll percentage about the nation being on the wrong track. So make up your mind!

As for Obama job approval rating and the country being on the wrong track, again, Civics 101, there are three branches of government, and in this context, the two that matter are the Executive and the Legislative, i.e., the Presidency, and Congress. Thus, when the Democratic President’s job approval rating is in the mid 50s, and the rating of the Republican-dominated Congress is in the teens, I will leave it to the rational people to make the conclusion who is being blamed for the “wrong track.”

As for the defeat of Hillary Clinton, let ‘s keep in mind that she apparently won the popular vote. That does not count in who will be the President, but again, when we talk about who is being blamed for the “wrong track,” clearly she was not in the public opinion. And here you cannot argue with non-existent accuracy of polls - these are actual votes. And even more to the point of the discussion, her relative lack of voting success has more to do with her flaws than with people’s appreciation of Obama’s performance.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit @abbmom


I began my reply to your first post directed to me with an indication that my response was an opinion. Your reply sounds like you think you're stating facts but lacking in any clear rebuttal to my opinions with your own, facts or opinions. Quite a word salad that you presented but lacking in substance. Typical. I'll let you have the last word because I don't have the afternoon to spend with you.

abbmom
abbmom

@SGTGrit @abbmom Passing ACA without any Republican votes is not bypassing Congress. ACA was passed by both houses of Congress. That's just a fact. The fact that no Republicans voted for it does not mean that the law was not legitimately passed. By your logic, any bill passed by the House and Senate in the upcoming Congress without any Democratic votes is automatically illegitimate. 


And by the way, Paul Ryan plans to use the reconciliation procedure in the same way to pass his agenda without any delay. Like most liberals, I'll hate the effects, but it will still be passed by Congress, and if signed by the President, will become law. The rules are the rules.  If you don't like the reconciliation procedure, you should lobby our representatives to change it, but until then, it's completely within the rules. You just can't say that a law wasn't legitimately passed because you disagree with it. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@abbmom @SGTGrit 

I didn't say that it wasn't legitimately passed. I'm saying what was done poisoned the well between the two parties. There has been nothing but animosity since the Democrats used a gimmick to disallow Republican input into the final bill. I probably should have said it was passed without the full congress but the criticisms of the ACA at the time have certainly come to pass and I'm sure that fact contributed to Hillary Clinton's loss. It's a failure and turn around will probably be viewed as fair play by the new Republican administration and congress next year.

abbmom
abbmom

@SGTGrit @abbmom That's what you're saying now. This is from your original comment: "As you recall he didn't have the votes in congress to pass the poorly crafted ACA or Obamacare. He bypassed congress and the ACA was signed into law."  You were wrong. He did not bypass Congress. Why can't you just admit that you were wrong? And what you call a "gimmick" was still within the rules, and will be used by Paul Ryan early next year. 


And the logical inference of your comment is that the law is not legitimately passed. You implied that passage of  this law was somehow extra-legal; that's what "bypassed Congress" would mean. Again, the President did not bypass Congress. He fulfilled his substantial mandate to pass universal health care. 


Furthermore, Republicans met the night of President Obama's first inauguration and decided to do nothing but obstruct, because any bipartisan buy-in would imply Republican approval to the public. The well was poisoned from the beginning, but by your side.That's just a fact. Do you know how many times John Boehner snubbed invitations to the White House? Do you know how many times he failed to return calls from the President? That behavior is profoundly disrespectful of the office, but Boehner knew he'd catch hell from the base if he granted the President the respect that should go with the office. 


The President tried again and again to reach out to Republicans throughout his first term, and his hand was slapped away every single time. The first priority of the new administration at the time was the stimulus rather than health care, because if you recall, the economy was melting down and we were losing something like 800,000 jobs a month. One third of the stimulus bill was composed of tax cuts, the most ineffective form of stimulus, in order to attract Republican votes. Not a single Republican voted for it. And what is now called Obamacare was actually a Republican idea, Bob Dole's response to Hillary Clinton's health care proposal in 1993. Mitt Romney later implemented a form of this plan in Mass. when he was governor. So the ACA itself was a compromise, but again, Republicans chose not to support it. That's their right, but you can't say that the President didn't have the votes for the ACA, or that he bypassed Congress. You were wrong. 


And the ACA is not a failure. Ninety percent of Americans now have health insurance, and even though a fraction of premiums went  up this year, increases in health care spending have still slowed dramatically from what they were project to be had the plan never been implemented. Sure, it needs fixes, just like every other major program, but this was a huge win for people who couldn't get insurance for pre-existing conditions, among many others. Obamacare has literally saved lives. 

abbmom
abbmom

@SGTGrit @abbmom  Yeah, you'll notice that I never denied that my side lost. So you have no reply to actual facts, and you are incapable of admitting that you are wrong. That's it for me; I tried.