The morning after Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November, Americans were searching for answers. For months the polls had said that Hillary Clinton was headed for a victory, yet a loose coalition of voters had just collectively pushed the billionaire celebrity into the Oval Office. How?
Bloomberg Graphics set out to help readers move beyond the numbers toward a new understanding of how a realignment of America’s demographic groups had reconfigured the political landscape. To do so, we combined live county-level election results with demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
The result was a comprehensive interactive that walked readers through Trump’s major voting blocs and showed where in America those voters called home. We showed, for example, that Trump’s biggest victories came in areas where residents considered their ancestry “American,” and where the number of voters with college degrees was relatively low. Through interaction, readers could explore the urban-rural split and locate by county the lower- and middle-class voting blocs that threw their weight behind Trump.
Speed and comprehensiveness set the graphic apart. It was available early on the morning after the election, providing a timely answer to the question: “How did Trump win?” Readers could either scan the concise top-level explanations or interrogate the data at the county level, scrubbing through the histograms to display the data in a geographic view. The maps showed specific regional trends that were often lost in state-level maps.