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Unemployment Report Defies Conventional Wisdom on Trump Supporters

President-elect’s coalition largely based in states with above-average employment


If voters sided with President-elect Donald Trump because they were angry, it wasn’t because they were out of work.

Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had 70 percent of her electoral votes coming from states where unemployment is above the 4.9 percent national average, while Trump had 37 percent of his electoral votes coming from states that meet that criteria.

Conversely, Trump received 63 percent of his electoral votes from states with unemployment rates at or below the national average, with Clinton getting 30 percent from such states.

Driving the numbers: The big electoral states of California and New York that were won by Clinton have above-average unemployment rates. The big electoral states — Texas and Florida — that were won by Trump have below-average unemployment.

Trump got 173 electoral votes, 60 percent of his total, from states where the unemployment rate had dropped the most over the last seven years.

The numbers increase slightly if Michigan, a state whose presidential race is yet to be called but where state officials don’t expect Trump’s 11,600-vote lead* to be reversed, is added to the Republican’s column. Michigan’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate is below average.

Republicans are quickly getting behind Trump’s call for a stimulus package that would focus hundreds of billions of dollars of new spending on infrastructure. To have the biggest impact from a jobs viewpoint, those funds might best be spent in states with the highest unemployment rates — also known as the states that Clinton won.

* Per the latest Associated Press count as of press time. 

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