After the 2016 election, analysts spilled tubs of ink arguing that “Obama-Trump” voters helped swing the election. Analysis by John Sides for the Voter Study Group (which both of us have worked with) found that 9 percent of Barack Obama voters from 2012 switched to Donald Trump in 2016, for about 6 million voters overall. Disproportionately white, non-college-educated and concentrated in electorally vital states from Florida to the Great Lakes, these Democratic defectors shifted enough votes to help Trump win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which gave him an electoral college win despite losing the national popular vote.
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Former Senior Fellow; Co-Director, Politics and Elections