Trump's 'white guys' problem

If you believe the exit polls, and they are the only information we have to go on, Donald Trump in 2020 increased his percentage of the vote among white women, black men, black women, Hispanic men, Hispanic women, and others, including Asian men and women.  The only group where his percentage went down was white men!  Yet once again, today, I have heard and read commentators yammering on about how Donald Trump lost in 2020 because he lost women compared to 2016.

The information in the first paragraph comes from here.  More specifically, from 2016 to 2020, Donald Trump increased his vote among white women by 3 percentage points.  He increased his vote among black men by 6 percentage points to 19%.  Trump more than doubled his percentage among black women from 4% to 9% for an increase of 5 percentage points.  He increased his vote among Hispanic men by 3 percentage points and his vote among Hispanic women by 5 percentage points.  Finally, Trump's vote among the "other" group rose by 7 percentage points.

Trump's vote among white men fell by 1 percentage point.  What happened?  Well, the percentage tells only part of the story.  The figures here match the data from the earlier link and show how Trump did in 2020 compared to 2016, but they show this compared to the Democrat nominee in each election.  This is important, as third-party candidates gathered fewer votes in 2020 compared to 2016, although the Libertarians may have had an impact.  Donald Trump went from +9 percentage points with white women in 2016 to +11 percentage points in 2020.  He improved from a terrible -90 to somewhat better -81 with black women and -69 to -60 with black men.  From 2016 to 2020, Trump improved from -41 with Hispanic women to -34 and from -31 to -23 with Hispanic men.  Trump also went from -30 in 2016 to -20 in 2020 with those classified in the exit polls as "other."  So again, Trump gained with every group.  What happened?

It seems I omitted one group.  Again, it is those white males.  Trump went from +31 with white males in 2016 to +23 in 2020 with white males!  That is a surprising decline of 8 percentage points.

Also, the electorate changed a bit from 2016 to 2020.  Curiously, white men were a single percentage point larger in the electorate, but white women voted 5 percentage points less in 2020 compared to 2016.  The black votes stayed about the same but became more female.  Hispanic men stayed about the same percentage of voters, while Hispanic women increased by 2 percentage points in the electorate.  Finally, the others group grew by 2 percentage points in the electorate.

Sure, Trump lost the vote "count" in 2020 in part because he does not do as well with women as with men, but he did better in 2020 than he did in 2016.  Also, both elections were so close that a tiny fraction of a percentage change in a few states would have reversed the count in each election.

So when someone on Twitter is telling you there is no way Trump can win in 2024 or someone on the radio or TV is claiming that Trump needs to explain how he is going to do better with women in 2024 to win, ask him if he knows that Trump improved with women in 2020 over 2016 and did worse with white men.  If he doesn't know that, consider the commentator's lack of knowledge when evaluating his opinions.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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