Urban Suburbs At Root Of Clinton’s Edge Down The Stretch

If Hillary Clinton is going to win the White House, and most polls currently show her with a lead, she will likely do it on the backs of the nation’s densely populated Urban Suburb counties.

A merge of Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls from the month of October shows that Mrs. Clinton held an enormous 26-point lead – 55% to 29% – in those diverse, well-educated counties largely based around the nation’s largest cities.

County Types

Clinton

Trump

Margin

Big Cities

60%

25%

35%

Urban Suburbs

55%

29%

26%

The Sprawl

32%

45%

-13%

Rural America

32%

49%

-17%

Minority Centers

45%

39%

6%

Faith Driven America

28%

57%

-29%

Books and Barracks

40%

41%

-1%

That advantage is 10 points better than President Barack Obama’s 16-point margin in the Urban Suburbs in 2012 and if it holds it would likely prove to be decisive on November 8.

The rest of the numbers on the above chart look fairly similar to 2012’s results (see below). Mr. Trump is doing slightly better than Republican Mitt Romney did in Rural America counties, +3 points. And Mr. Trump is underperforming in Faith Driven America counties, -8 points. But the Urban Suburbs are the real story as the campaign winds down.

County Types

Obama

Romney

Margin

Big Cities

65%

34%

31%

Urban Suburbs

57%

41%

16%

The Sprawl

43%

55%

-12%

Rural America

42%

56%

-14%

Minority Centers

51%

48%

3%

Faith Driven America

31%

68%

-37%

Books and Barracks

48%

50%

-2%

(You can see all these types mapped here.)

Why are the Urban Suburbs so telling? It’s not just the margin; it’s the number of votes that come from those 106 counties. In 2012, the Urban Suburb counties produced 22% of all the votes cast. The Big City counties produced another 22%. That’s almost half the vote coming from solidly Democratic turf – and it looks like it will be more solid in 2016.

That simply leaves precious little ground where Mr. Trump can drum up the votes he needs. Mr. Trump’s strongest two county types, Rural America and Faith Driven America together held only 20% of all the votes cast in 2012.

The poll numbers suggest that in 2016 the big suburbs in metro areas, which have trended Democratic in recent presidential elections, are starting to take on more of the habits of their Big City counterparts. The Democratic vote blob that has been spreading from metro areas is changing their nearby suburbs from powder or royal blue to a distinct shade of navy.

Adding to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage, those Urban Suburbs and Big Cities are big parts of battleground states such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia and Colorado.

The race isn’t over yet, of course. Mr. Trump’s problem in these numbers is not that Mrs. Clinton is doing remarkably better in the Urban Suburbs than Mr. Obama, it is he is lagging far behind Mr. Romney’s 2012 figures in those counties. Republican voters could still “come home” in the closing days of the campaign and on Election Day. A move like that would change the picture.

But that likely won’t be easy. Mr. Trump’s struggles in the Urban Suburbs have been consistent throughout 2016 – even back to the primaries, where these counties were a problem for him in states such as Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina – and time is running very short.

Posted in Blog

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