The Preferences of Non-Voters: 2016 Election Edition

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The Washington Post has a recent article that highlights the preferences of non-voters:

The data…makes another point very clear: Those who didn’t vote are as responsible for the outcome of the election as those who did. As we noted shortly after the election, about 30 percent of Americans were eligible to vote but decided not to, a higher percentage than the portion of the country who voted for either Trump or his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Pew’s data shows that almost half of the nonvoters were nonwhite and two-thirds were under age 50. More than half of those who didn’t vote earned less than $30,000 a year; more than half of those who did vote were over age 50.

The piece goes through several demographics:

  • Race: “Black and Hispanic voters voted much more heavily Democratic than white votes backed Trump, but they turned out less.”
  • Age: “People under 30 preferred Clinton by 30 points but made up much more of the nonvoter population than the population that actually voted. A third of nonvoters were under 30; only 1 in 8 voters was in that age group.”
  • Income: “Poorer whites and nonwhites generally made up more of the nonvoter pool than the voter pool.”
  • Education: “College graduates leaned toward Clinton — but whites without college degrees voted heavily for Trump. Nonwhites without a college education were 40 percent of the nonvoter pool and only 1 in 5 actual voters.”
  • Religion: “Evangelicals were the most strongly pro-Trump of the religious groups of voters, and they represented more of the voting pool than the nonvoting pool. Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics made up less of the voting population than the nonvoting population — and strongly preferred Clinton.”

All together, the voter/nonvoter political divide looks like this:

The article concludes, “Demographic groups that preferred Trump were three times as likely to be a bigger part of the voter pool than nonvoters. Among groups that preferred Clinton, they were about 50 percent more likely to be a bigger part of the nonvoting community. Clinton nonetheless won the popular vote. But an increased turnout of under-30 voters in, say, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan could easily have changed the results of the history.”

This fits with previous data: non-voters are a largely younger, poorer, uneducated, racially diverse group that lean left.