Why Clinton Lost PA: Examining the Exit Polls

hillary-sad“The Revolution never came.”

That was Hillary Clinton’s response during a Democratic primary debate concerning some of her past comments on health care. It could also apply to the general election results.

The Democratic nominee bet that she could win over Republican-leaning women outraged at Donald Trump’s behavior and comments. These women would outweigh any gains he made it other areas.

It didn’t work out that way.


Now, there are questions about the true accuracy of exit polls. While I’ll have plenty of analysis of the voting results once they’re certified, the exit polls remain our best guide to figuring out just want happen on Nov. 8th.

As you can see above, women didn’t mobilize above and beyond for Hillary Clinton yet men ran into Donald Trump’s arms.

You can see just how wide this gender gap was through this chart, which suggests that Hillary did in fact do better with white women. The problem is she did worse with black men than President Obama did.


Clinton’s real problem with blacks, though, was turnout. She performed great with African-American voters who showed up. As Al Hunt points out, the drop from 13% to 10% share of the voting population really hurt Clinton.

The largest shift this year, though, occurred along educational lines.


This is the rare double switch in politics. Digging deeper, though, we can find the impetus behind the change.


While Hillary’s support with post-grads went up, it absolutely plummeted with high school grads.


Income was another area where Clinton suffered. Despite the countless pieces you’ve read this year about Trump’s working-class support, she won those who make less than $50,000 a year. The problem is the margin was way less than four years ago. Yet there was basically no change among those making more than $50K a year.

Finally, politics comes down to the simple equation of party turnout. Democrats, Republicans and independents.


Trump actually did worse than Mitt Romney with Republicans and independents, but an improvement with Dems and a GOP surge cancelled it out.

It’s worth pointing out that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein did make a real difference in that they allowed some independents to pass on the choice between Trump and Clinton.

In the end, though, I think this table provides the best explanation for Trump’s victory.


The Clinton campaign believed that Republican women in Southeast PA could cancel out the Democratic men Trump was peeling away elsewhere.

This strategy wasn’t just confined to Pennsylvania either. Clinton made her gender a central selling point of her campaign after pundits came to the conclusion her refusal to embrace the issue cost her the 2008 Democratic primary.

Trump, suitably, was far from subtle about his outreach to males.

“All of the men, we’re petrified to speak to women anymore,” he asserted back in May. “The women get it better than we do, folks. They get it better than we do.”

In Pennsylvania, fifteen percent of Democratic men went for Trump versus eleven percent of Republican women who chose Hillary.

When 67,952 votes out of nearly 6 million total is the final margin, those few points can make all the difference.

For Trump, the revolution came. For Clinton, it never did.

15 Responses

  1. Tim: You are so stupid. I already told you it’s the Mexicans killing people. But I’m taking your tax dollars to build a big Wall.

  2. Hey gulag Pittsburgh, they let Obama waltz right into the White House and then elected him again! His biggest achievements? Transgendered people using womens’ restrooms and turning blacks into cop killers and racist thugs! Boy, he sure accomplished a lot! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, he added $11 TRILLION to the national debt, perhaps his GREATEST “Achievement”! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!!!!!!!

  3. Time to move on unless your readers want to cry in their spilled milk for 4 years or run for office themselves.

  4. Trump is worse than Bill Clinton, so I guess America doesn’t care who walks into the White House these days.

  5. i think hillary lost the presidencia not from her but for her husband,no american wanted a man like bill clinton walking in in white house after what he did when he was there,he dont have shame of nathing,

  6. What the mixed bag of exit poll results show us is; the stars lined up for Trump in ways no one could imagine. There were no glaring shifts from 2012 and turn out fell in just the right ways for Trump.

  7. So professional students went for Hillary more than Trump, but every one else – regardless of their level of education – went with Trump more than Hillary.

    And while Hillary won big with non-white women (because she won big with non-white voters, period), white women still slightly favored Trump – and fewer non-white voters voted this time around than in the last presidential election.

    All that blows a big hole in the Democrats’ argument (parroted and pushed by much of the main stream media) that only poorly-educated racist bigoted misogynists voted for Trump, doesn’t it?

  8. “Gary Johnson and Jill Stein did make a real difference in that they allowed some independents to pass on the choice between Trump and Clinton.”

    Amen. And I am proud to have stood with the 0% of Dem men who voted for Stein. Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

  9. Trump won everything since the begining. Lol.. Only one word: Make America great again. People in the US need a business minded president, not a politician. the next two decades yes, we do need not Trump.

  10. Great master list of HRC errors, Jack. Each cut deep in its own way.

    Good you included a remark about the campaign logo.

    A week before the election one of my more prescient Democratic friends told me that viewing the “H’ logo with the arrow made him wonder “Why are we in this handbasket, and where are we headed?”

  11. Clinton Lost because she did not use Carville and Begala as Political Consultants . She lost cause she was a screech Owl , She lost cause she did not Campaign . She lost cause she did not have press conferences . She Lost cause she never washed her hair and as Podesta said she did not bathe and smelled like Urine . She lost cause of those Bags under her eyes that could have been easily corrected . She lost cause she called Republicans ” The Enemy ” She lost cause she called even her supporters Nasty Names .She lost cause she put people into Food Groups . She Lost cause Her Husbands Hatred for Obama caused him to Trash everything Obama stood for . She lost cause her husband is a Rapist . She lost cause she thought she was entitled to win just because she was a woman and a clinton . She lost cause she did not realized how hard it is out here for working people to keep their head above the water . She lost cause she thought she was above everyone . She lost cause she had a running mate that was weird looking and screamed at his Girlfriend on the Phone and the recording of the screaming made it out onto the Net . She Lost cause she was Hillary Rodham Clinton or was she Hillary Rodham or was she Hillary Clinton or was she Hillary She had no consistant Name identification . She lost cause she thought she could use the Fed Ex logo with the Forward arrow Once again No Name Identifcation .What the Heck did an H mean ? For so many other reasons she lost so you can forget about running Chelsea for anything especially after her wedding was paid for By The Clinton Charity . She Lost cause Chelseas Father in Law is a Convicted Felon for even ripping off his own Mother In Law . I have a headache now just thinking about H or whate ver its name is so I shall rest now Bye Bye H you are History that never was .

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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