How America voted in 2016: A generational divide?

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Based on CCES data, we know this about the 2016 outcome:

  • 27.5% of Hillary Clinton's voters were 35 years old or younger.
  • Among those who voted for Trump, only 16% were in the same age group (18-35 years).
  • 42% of Trump voters were 60 years old or older (compared 32.4% of Clinton voters).
  • Nearly 6 in 10 young people voted for Clinton in 2016. (Exit polls, shown below, suggest the share was slightly lower: 55%)



Ideology and age

There is a larger number of young conservatives than the popular stereotypes would suggest:


Among young moderates, 70% of voted for Clinton in 2016.

In separate calculations (based again on 2016 VOTER Survey), I found 36% of Clinton voters identified themselves as moderate. Slightly over 6% of Clinton voters said their were conservatives. Among Trump voters, 26% stated they were moderate and more than 65% said they saw themselves as conservative.

That suggests Democratic candidates can do well among the young moderates, and a significant share of young Americans will is unlikely to vote for Democrats in the near future.

In fact, fewer than half of young Americans identify as Democrats:


The code for all of VOTER-Study-based calculations is posted on Github.

CNN Exit poll

Based on exit polls, we can say that in 2016:

  • Most people over 44 years of age voted for Trump in 2016.
  • Only 36% of people aged 29 or less voted for Trump.


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