Donald Trump will officially become president on January 20. His election has prompted a wide range of reactions, from supporters believing he is a populist leader to opponents fearing his rise to power threatens democracy. For Americans of all political persuasions, the ongoing media coverage of the election results has likely been disorienting to say the least.
While votes cast in the Electoral College determine who is president of the United States based on each state’s level of support for the candidates, there is considerable variation in voting results even within the most conservative and most liberal states.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed voting results in every U.S. county from the most recent presidential election. In Roberts County, Texas, 95.3% of the 550 votes cast were for Trump, the highest percentage of the over 3,000 U.S. counties. By contrast, in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), a county equivalent area, just 4.1% of voters cast their ballot for Trump, the smallest share of any county.
Hillary Clinton received 62.4 million votes, well over 1 million more than Trump. In the ongoing process of counting all the votes, this difference has increased, and Clinton may have won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. However, Trump won a majority of votes in over 80% of counties.
The discrepancy is entirely due to the different population sizes of U.S. counties. Trump’s dominant results at the county level mean that small, low-population areas overwhelmingly voted for Trump. On the other hand, Clinton’s victory in overall votes means that more populous counties, many of which are part of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, voted for Clinton.
Various economic and social conditions, and how they have changed over recent decades, help explain Trump’s political success. For example, Trump was especially popular among dissatisfied working-class white men. That high level of dissatisfaction would likely have been significantly lower if not for changes in major U.S. industries, such as the manufacturing sector. Further, some analysts have argued Trump would not have been elected if not for the 2008 financial crisis. In a November 2016 paper, “Going to extremes: Politics after financial crises, 1870-2014,” researchers found that financial recessions are typically followed by surges in protests and support for anti-establishment political parties, especially from the far right.
Mirroring the employment makeup of Trump versus Clinton supporters, one of the most notable differences between the two groups is in educational attainment levels. Of the 2,623 counties that voted for Trump over Clinton, only 184, or 7%, have above-average college attainment rates.
The GOP has long been one of the most racially homogenous political parties in the United States — if not the world. During his campaign, Trump’s speeches were considered by many as supportive of white supremacist agendas. Economic factors likely played a greater role than race-related issues in most voters’ decisions. However, while mostly white counties that went for Trump were disproportionately low-income areas, mostly black, low-income areas tended to support Clinton. All but seven of the 50 counties with state-leading Trump support have larger shares of white residents than most other counties in their respective states.
To determine the most pro-Trump county in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed voting results from the 2016 presidential election aggregated by the political news publication Politico. The most pro-Trump county in each state is the one with the largest share of votes cast for the president-elect. Demographic data, such as the shares of whites and African Americans, and college attainment rates, in each county, came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey and are five-year averages. The percentage of each county’s population living in rural areas came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 decennial census.
These are the counties in every state that voted most heavily for Trump.
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