Just Like Brexit, The US Election Shows A Massive Generational Divide Amongst Voters

The election shows how divided the US is. Get used to big protests like this.

You’ve probably seen this map shared a bunch of times since yesterday’s US election:

You might even have shared it yourself. According to most posts doing the rounds it shows how 18-25 year olds voted in the US presidential election yesterday. It tells a powerful story of conflict and division. A story of a generation of younger voters pulling in a very different direction to the rest of the country.

The story it tells is absolutely spot on, but the map isn’t quite right.

The map isn’t a reflection of actual election results. It’s a projection based on a poll undertaken by Survey Monkey back in October. Survey Monkey polled 30,000 voters and then weighted the results based on state level data to put together a series of maps.

You can find an updated version of the map, based on newer polling by Survey Monkey, on the company’s website. However the results are from 18-34 year olds, not 18-25 year olds as most posts suggested.

Here it is:


And here’s what the electoral map would look like if only white people voted:


The maps are interesting and give a reasonable snapshot of the race, age, gender and class based divides across America. But they were all based on polls taken prior to the election.

No one will ever know for sure exactly how certain demographics voted. But a particular type of polling called exit polling can give us a pretty clear view. Exit polls are based on surveys with voters after people have voted. The idea is to capture a large sample of voters who have just cast their vote and then project the numbers to predict the election result.

Those exit polls showed that young voters broke heavily for Clinton. According to The Washington Post55 percent of voters aged 18-29 backed Clinton and 37 percent voted for Trump. While that’s a pretty solid win for Clinton in that demographic, she actually did 5 points worse than Obama in 2012.

Exit polls are national surveys so we don’t know what the result would have been in each state. But it’s safe to say that if the electorate was only composed of 18-29 year olds Clinton would’ve won comfortably. On the other hand, exit polls showed that a majority of voters over the age of 45 voted for Trump. Nearly 60 percent of white voters backed him as well.

So even though those maps above aren’t quite a direct reflection of what happened on polling day, they generally line up with most of the evidence.

The results from yesterday’s election are similar to what we saw during the UK’s Brexit referendum. Exit poll data from that vote showed that more than 70 percent of voters aged 18-24 opposed Brexit, while older voters where overwhelmingly in favour.

A Junkee analysis from earlier this year demonstrated that if only 18-24 year olds voted in Australian elections Labor and the Greens would substantially benefit.

What Would Parliament Look Like If Only Young People Could Vote?

Young People Are Fighting Back

Even though Trump won the election pretty decisively, young people in the US aren’t taking it lying down. Dozens of protests have sprung up across the country in the past 24 hours.

Thousands of protesters have gathered in rallies across the country to chant “Not my president!”. In Oakland a group of 100 protesters reportedly set fire to an effigy of Donald Trump. The biggest crowd has gathered outside Trump Tower in New York.

The focus of many of the protests is Trump’s history of sexual assault and his anti-women and anti-LGBTIQ policies.

In Seattle a group of 200 high school students walked out of class in protest against Trump’s victory.

It might seen strange to be protesting the result of a democratic election just hours after the result was finalised, but it kind of makes sense given the huge demographic splits. Young people didn’t vote for Trump. A lot of people in the US right now feel like the person who’s going to be in the White House for the next four years represents an entirely different America to the one that they’re a part of.

The data shows the divisions are very real and very big. So get used to seeing protests like this.

Feature image via Twitter