The demographic compositions of the two major political parties in America today are well-established, and naturally enough, it follows that the demographic profiles of those who have favorable opinions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would follow along these same lines. They do.
But it is worth looking at these differences in detail. They help us understand the dramatically different ways in which the two presumptive major party nominees are viewed across segments of U.S. society today. And that in turn helps us understand just how differently this election context can appear from one group of Americans to the other.
I'm looking here at the favorability ratings of Clinton and Trump among a wide variety of population segments created by various combinations of race and ethnicity, gender, education, religion, region of residence, income and marital status -- based on May 1-24 interviews with more than 11,600 Americans. Overall, for this time period, Clinton had an average favorable rating of 40% and Trump, an average favorable rating of 33%, for a +7 Clinton advantage.
The differences in views of Clinton and Trump across segments, as noted, are huge. The single population segment (of those tested) with the biggest difference is non-Hispanic blacks, among whom 69% have a favorable view of Clinton and only 11% have a favorable view of Trump. At the other end of the spectrum, 25% of white men have a favorable view of Clinton and 49% a favorable view of Trump. That's a 44-percentage-point swing in opinions of Clinton, and a 38-point swing in opinions of Trump. Although it exaggerates the differences, we can say that the swing in the gap in favorable ratings between the two extreme groups is 82 points (+58 Clinton among blacks and +24 Trump among white men).
Here is the basic table, listed in rank order of the Clinton-Trump favorable gap:
|Hillary Clinton||Donald Trump||Clinton minus Trump|
|Nonwhite non-college grad||61%||13%||48|
|Nonwhite college grad||62%||17%||45|
|Domestic partnership/Living with partner (not legally married)||57%||19%||38|
|Identify as LGBT||54%||18%||36|
|Less than $24,000/year||50%||25%||25|
|Single/Never been married||41%||24%||17|
|Have children under 18||41%||29%||12|
|East Central/Great Lakes||40%||31%||9|
|White college grad||39%||31%||8|
|High school or less||41%||33%||8|
|$24,000/year-less than $60,000/year||39%||32%||7|
|Have children (all ages)||41%||35%||6|
|Married with children under 18||37%||34%||3|
|$60,000/year-less than $90,000/year||36%||36%||0|
|White non-college grad||26%||47%||-21|
|May 1-24, 2016|
One thing immediately clear is the extraordinary role that Americans' race and ethnicity play in determining how they view these two candidates. Six of the nine segments with the largest favorable gap in favor of Clinton include a race/ethnicity component, and the two segments with the largest favorable gap in favor of Trump are defined, in part, by race as well.
Overall, the tendencies in these data are clear. Those most differentially positive toward Clinton (over Trump) are those who identify themselves with any race or ethnic category other than non-Hispanic white, women, those who are not married, LGBT identifiers, any religious group that is not Protestant or Mormon, those who are not religious and those with lower incomes.
Naturally, combinations of these demographic categories produce the most extremely different views. Combining the racial category of being white with the gender category of being male produces the strongest pro-Trump category tested. On the other hand, combining the racial category of being nonwhite with the gender category of being female produces the second-strongest pro-Clinton category tested.
At the risk of overgeneralization, we can say that the typical American who really likes Clinton and doesn't like Trump is a black, Hispanic or Asian female living outside the bounds of a traditional marriage and who is unreligious. The typical American who really likes Trump and doesn't like Clinton is a white male who is traditionally married, religious, and a Protestant or Mormon.