Who′s voting for whom? The most important voter groups | US presidential elections 2016: What do I need to know? | DW | 05.11.2016
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US Elections

Who's voting for whom? The most important voter groups

US society is split into a number of ethnic, religious and demographic groups with very different political views. Which voting groups are supporting which candidates? An overview.


As a voting group, women have been a big problem for Donald Trump since he started his campaign. The Republican is trailing with female voters. He only has himself to blame: He has insulted women in interviews and on Twitter, repeatedly called them fat and ugly, and even made derisive comments about the menstrual period of a female journalist. A video, in which Trump bragged about aggressively groping women only made things worse. After the video was released Trump became unsupportable even for normally loyal Republican women. Further, women's issues were wholly absent from Trump's campaign. This was quite the opposite with Hillary Clinton. Her campaign has elevated issues such as equal pay, reproductive rights and making it easier for women to balance family and career to the fore of her political agenda. The Democrat, however, won't win over any male voters with such issues. Trump holds a commanding lead among male voters.

White lower class

White men without college degrees - that is Donald Trump's voter base. This group was hit particularly hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs in America.

US Wahlen Donald Trump Unterstützer (Reuters/C. Keane)

A Trump supporter gestures as he waits for a campaign event in Rock Hill, South Carolina

That is why Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" has special meaning for them. Trump's promises to bring back jobs from China are just as popular as his rants against free trade and immigration. Trump is seen by his supporters as an anti-politician who says what he thinks and doesn't care about political correctness. Hillary Clinton has a tough time with this group. To them, she is nothing more than the embodiment of the Washington establishment.


African-Americans traditionally vote Democrat. And Hillary Clinton can count on their support this year. The only question is whether Clinton can motivate blacks to get out and vote. In 2012, some 66 percent of African-American voters went to the polls, and 95 percent of them cast their ballot for Barack Obama, the country's first black president. Clinton will not attain those kinds of numbers. Trump, with his racist comments, has remained highly unpopular amongst black voters. According to an NBC opinion poll taken in July, only six percent of black voters supported him. In a recent poll taken in Ohio, a so-called swing state, 100 percent of black voters said they would vote for Clinton.


No ethnic group in the US is growing faster than those citizens with Latin American roots. Four years ago they voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. Trump's derogatory statements about Mexicans and his plan to build a wall on the US-Mexican border could help Clinton. But the Democrat has to mobilize these potential voters as well. In 2012 only 48 percent of registered Latino voters cast ballots.

USA Poster / Transparente zu Präsidentschaftswahlen (Getty Images/AFP/J. Samad)

An anti-Donald Trump poster shows a cartoon of the US Republican presidential candidate pasted on the glass at a bus stop in Washington DC

Evangelical Christians

Normally, Republicans are as sure of getting the vote of Evangelical Christians as a pastor is of getting an amen after a prayer. But this time around that vote is anything but certain. It seems that Trump may have turned off a number of voters in this group with his crude comments. However, that does not mean that conservative Christians will vote for Clinton. Many of them hate her more than the devil hates holy water. It is more likely that many of these voters will simply stay home on Tuesday, or perhaps even vote for Trump in the end.


Young Americans born between 1980 and 1990 were the backbone of Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns. And they could be a decisive group on November 8 as well. Hillary Clinton clearly leads in opinion polls of 18-to-35-year-olds. But Clinton is not necessarily liked by these young voters. Many of them supported her Democratic-party challenger Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Compared to Trump, many simply see Clinton as the lesser of two evils. In an opinion poll taken at Taft University, some 40 percent of Clinton's supporters admitted that they were not totally convinced about the candidate. Again, it will be up to Clinton to mobilize these young voters if she is to win.       


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