Most white working-class Americans do not expect their communities to improve—except those who voted for Trump
WASHINGTON – A survey released today casts new light on the challenges Hillary Clinton faced in motivating her supporters in the final weeks of the election. While roughly two-thirds (66 percent) of women who voted for Clinton report their husband or partner also voted for Clinton, nearly one in five (19 percent) report that their husband or partner did not vote at all in the 2016 election. Clinton also faced a larger voter drop-off than her opponent, President-elect Donald Trump. Registered voters who reported favoring Clinton before the election are nearly twice as likely as those favoring Trump to report they did not cast a ballot in the election (13 percent vs. seven percent, respectively).
The PRRI/The Atlantic survey was conducted by the nonpartisan PRRI in partnership with The Atlantic. The results of the survey were based on callback interviews conducted between November 9 and 20, 2016, with 1,162 adults who were originally interviewed in late September through mid-October. The survey explores factors contributing to the outcome of the election and reactions to it, perceived problems with the electoral system, and attitudes about the political parties.
“Both presidential campaigns featured ads asserting that the fate of the country was uniquely at stake in this election,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, “but this apocalyptic rhetoric only really resonated with Republicans.” Six in ten (60 percent) Republicans and 66 percent of Trump voters believe the election represented the last chance to stop America’s decline; only 29 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Clinton voters embrace this view.
After such a divisive election season, it is no surprise that there are substantial differences among Americans in how they feel about the outcome. Notably, white evangelical Protestants and black Americans express nearly opposite reactions. Two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants report being excited (31 percent) or satisfied (36 percent) with the election result, while two-thirds of African Americans report being disappointed (33 percent), worried (19 percent), or angry (15 percent).
“Overall, white working-class Americans are not terribly optimistic that things in their community are going to improve,” said PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox. “However, white working class voters who supported the president-elect generally believe that the quality of life in their community will get better.”
Roughly two-thirds of all white working-class Americans say their quality of life will get worse (19 percent) or stay about the same (47 percent) in their community. Only 32 percent say things will improve. However, among white working-class Americans who voted for Trump, a majority (52 percent) say things will improve in their community.
Among the findings:
- The survey reveals strong negative partisan polarization. A majority (56 percent) of Republicans and 61 percent of Trump voters say policies of the Democratic Party are so misguided they pose a serious threat to the country. Similarly, a slim majority (51 percent) of Democrats and 50 percent of Clinton voters say Republican policies pose a threat to the nation.
- Americans see various problems with America’s election system, but very few point to voter fraud as an issue. Just six percent of all Americans, including six percent of Republicans and five percent of Democrats, say voter fraud is the most serious problem facing the election system.
- One-third (33 percent) of Americans say media bias against particular candidates is the most serious problem with the election system. However, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Republicans, compared to only 15 percent of Democrats, cite this as the most important problem with the election system.
To read the entire report, including topline and methodology, visit: https://www.prri.org/research/prri-atlantic-december-2016-post-election-survey/.
The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI in partnership with The Atlantic. Results of the survey were based on 1,162 callback telephone interviews conducted between November 9 and November 20, 2016 with respondents who were originally interviewed in a pre-election survey. The PRRI/The Atlantic pre-election survey was fielded September 22 through October 9, 2016 among a national random sample of 3,043 adults 18 years of age or older in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Within households, respondents were identified using initials or first name that was provided during the pre-election interview. For respondents who refused to provide a name, gender and age were used to identify the correct respondent in the household. All interviews were conducted by telephone in Spanish and English by professional interviewers under the supervision of SSRS. The survey was made possible by generous grants from Open Society Foundations and The Ford Foundation.
The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.6 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The survey included a subsample of 969 voters. The margin of error for the subsample of voters is +/- 3.9 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The design effect for the survey is 1.6. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context and order effects.
PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization specializing in research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.