The Corner

Hillary Voters: The Minority in 37 States

Building on a point I made last week about how geographically narrow and insular the Democrats’ support is right now, consider this: Hillary Clinton won a majority of the popular vote in only thirteen states, the fewest of any major-party nominee since Bob Dole in 1996. That’s an astoundingly poor performance. Facing an opponent so deeply flawed that Democrats were visibly salivating over running against him, she carried a popular majority in half as many states as Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, barely more than half as many as Mitt Romney:

As you can see, Richard Nixon in 1960 is the only candidate in the postwar era to win a majority of the vote in more than half the states and lose the election (Nixon won majorities in 26 states in 1960, 15 in 1968 on his way to victory). Romney, who won a majority in one more state than Trump did, as well as getting a higher percentage of the national popular vote, came close.  Nixon ‘60 and Ford ‘76 are the only candidates in that period to win a majority in more states than their opponent and lose the election. As you can see, the tendency to roll up a bunch of the smaller Great Plains and Mountain states has tended to favor Republican candidates by this measurement, although Nate Silver has observed that the Electoral College itself has favored the Democrats in half of the elections since 1948.

The only state away from the coasts where Hillary cracked 50% of the vote was her home state of Illinois; here’s the map of where she and Trump carried popular majorities:

That’s a narrowly regional map for the Democrats (as well as a map with a ton of electoral votes up for grabs again in four years). As I’ve noted before, this is not because there were third party candidates in the race, since Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were both on the ballot in 2012. As Five Thirty Eight tracked during the primaries, Hillary had more, earlier backing from her own party establishment to be the nominee than any Democrat in the modern primary era, more than any candidate of either party except Dole or George H.W. Bush. She was just a bad candidate, running in a year when her party was due to lose support after an election in which the benefits of incumbency carried them to victory.


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