By Victoria McGrane
November 9, 2016
Predictions of a major surge from Hispanic voters turing out to oppose Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policy platform did not look to be holding up, according to exit polls of voters.
Early voting turnout in crucial battleground of Florida was among the signs pundits seized on in recent days as they predicted a wave of angry Latinos would help sink Trump’s chances of taking the White House.
But preliminary exit poll data showed that Hispanics made up 18 percent of 2016 voters in the Sunshine State, just a slight uptick from four years earlier when they made up 17 percent of all voters in the state. If those numbers hold, it would signal an expansion in line with Hispanic’s population growth but not a electorate-reshaping blockbuster.
Nationally, Democratic standard-bearer Hillary Clinton was handily beating Trump among Hispanic voters, leading him 65 percent to 27 percent, according to early exit polls. That means she was running slightly behind President Obama’s edge with Latinos four years ago, when he beat former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with this demographic 71 percent to 27 percent.
But overall the Latino voting population increased just one percentage point to 11 percent, up from 10 percent in 2012. The early data showed a US electorate that’s a little less white, but not indicative of record-breaking Hispanic turnout.
Overall, the complexion of the American voter turned a little less white in 2016, with whites making up 70 percent of the 2016 electorate, down from 72 percent in 2012.
Trump’s strong showing Tuesday night seemed to be fueled by white voters, particularly white working class voters. Early exit polls showed him beating Clinton among whites by 39 points; in 2012, Obama lost this group to Romney by 25 points.
But some relative weakness with white women seemed to be causing Trump’s overall share of the total white vote to lag behind the roughly 60 percent of that group backing Romney four years ago. Trump’s edge over Clinton with white women is 9 points. In 2012, Romney won white women by 14 points.
These early waves of exit poll data have a history of inaccuracy, but the tight nature of the race seemed to indicate there was no major shift in 2016. Pollsters continued to revise the data throughout the night as more information became available.
Some election watchers criticized the exit poll data — conducted by Edison Research for a consortium of the Associated Press and television networks — for not accurately capturing the true force of the Hispanic distaste for the Republican standard-bearer. An election-eve survey of 5,600 voters performed by Latino Decisions, a polling firm that specializes in Hispanic voting patterns, found that Latino voters nationally favored Clinton over Trump 79 to 18. In Florida, Latino voters backed Clinton by a 67-to-31 margin, the firm said.
Still, the preliminary exit polls reflected the demographic trends that are changing the face of the USelectorate.
Nonwhite voters accounted for 40 percent of voters overall in the Sunshine State, according to the early exit poll data reported by ABC. That figure would be a record-breaker if it persists; nonwhite voters were 33 percent of the overall picture four years ago.
While Trump won the white vote in Florida 62 percent to Clinton’s 34 percent, according to preliminary exit poll data reported by ABC News, Clinton trounced Trump among nonwhite voters, winning Hispanic voters 62 percent to 33 percent, and black voters by 84 percent to Trump’s 7 percent.
The early wave of exit polls, moreover, indicate that Trump’s hard line on immigration was out of sync with most of the American electorate, despite the love it earned him among his core supporters. Seven in 10 voters surveyed said they believe illegal immigrants currently in the United States should be allowed to stay.
Overall, the Latino voting population increased just one percentage point to 11 percent, up from 10 percent in 2012.
Slightly more than 70 percent of voters say there should be a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. Only 25 percent of voters surveyed said they should be deported.
Trump’s infamous plan to build an “impenetrable” and “beautiful” wall between the US and Mexico was not particularly popular with voters either: 54 percent of voters opposed the idea.
The preliminary exit poll results also show that only one in 10 of voters ranked immigration as the most crucial concern facing the nation, according to the AP. Hispanics were somewhat more inter
Another trend evident in the early exit polls: More than six in 10 voters made their decision whom to support for president before September, according to preliminary exit poll data reported by CNN. Only 12 percent of voters settled on their presidential pick within the past week, a tumultuous period in the campaign marked by a shocking back-and-forth from the FBI on the status of its inquiry into Clinton’s handling of classified material on her private e-mail server.
Throughout the campaign, polls showed Clinton and Trump as the most deeply disliked presidential candidates in modern history. As they left the polls Tuesday, a majority of voters supporting both Clinton and Trump said they chose a candidate for whom they harbored reservations, according to an AP analysis of the exit polls.
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