WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the first woman president produced a gender gap with a capital “G” — but the non-college-educated white men flocking to Donald Trump had a lot to do with it.
Tuesday’s election was on track to produce one of the largest gender gaps since 1972, when the first national exit poll was taken.
The gender gap for Clinton — the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her — hit 13 percentage points in preliminary results of exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.
Clinton’s support among women was roughly even with the support that women gave Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. The bigger factor in this year’s wide gender gap: less-educated white men, who favored Trump far more heavily than they did Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 or GOP nominee John McCain in 2008.
Trump, who once famously declared that he loved the uneducated, got plenty of love from white voters who never graduated from college: He got 7 in 10 votes from non-college-educated white men and 6 in 10 votes from non-college-educated white women.
Clinton, meanwhile, got the support of less than a quarter of white men without a college degree; Obama, by contrast, drew about a third of their votes four years ago. Clinton did make some inroads with college-educated white women. Just over half supported her, while four years ago just over half of that group had backed Romney.
The only presidential candidate that came close to Clinton’s apparent gender gap this year was Democrat Al Gore, who had a 12-point gender gap in 2000.
Other findings from the exit poll:
Clinton managed to hang on to the millennials who were such a big part of Obama’s winning coalition.
Young people age 18-29 supported Clinton over Trump by nearly as strong a margin as their support of Obama over Romney in 2012.
Those between 30 and 44 also were much more likely to support Clinton than Trump. Trump won the favor of those 45 and over.
HOLDING THEIR NOSES
Americans held their noses as they picked between Clinton and Trump: More than half of voters cast their ballots with reservations about their candidate or because they disliked the others running.
That was true both for those backing Democrat Hillary Clinton and those supporting Republican Donald Trump, the exit polls showed
After a long, hard-fought campaign, just 4 out of 10 voters strongly favored their candidate. That’s a marked shift from 2012, when about two-thirds of voters said they were voting because they strongly favored their candidate.
The prospect of a Clinton or Trump victory was downright scary to plenty of voters: Seven in 10 Clinton voters said they’d feel scared by Trump victory; 6 in 10 Trump voters felt the same about a Clinton win.
WOMEN’S ISSUES VS. EMAIL ISSUES
After all of the sound and fury over Trump’s treatment of women, it turned out the issue bothered half of all voters a lot — and women were more concerned about it than men.
About 6 in 10 women were bothered a lot, compared to about 4 in 10 men, the exit poll found.
The partisan divide on the issue was stark: More than 8 in 10 Clinton voters were bothered a lot by the GOP candidate’s treatment of women, compared to about 1 in 10 Trump voters.
It turned out voters were somewhat less concerned about Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
That issue mattered a lot to about four in 10 voters, including about 9 in 10 Trump voters. Less than 1 in 10 Clinton’s supporters were bothered a lot.
Older voters were more inclined to say they were bothered by Clinton’s email issue: About half of voters age 50 and older were bothered a lot, compared with about 4 in 10 younger voters.
TO BE HONEST …
Neither Trump nor Clinton gets bragging rights when it comes to honesty.
About 6 out of 10 voters said they don’t view Clinton as honest and about the same share felt the same way about Trump.
Does anyone think both of these candidates are honest? That number was in single digits.
Opinions were more mixed on the question of temperament.
More than half of Americans said Clinton had the temperament to be president and about a third felt the same about Trump.
What kind of impact did third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have on the race?
They siphoned more votes from Clinton than from Trump.
But most Johnson and Stein voters said they would have just stayed home if their only choices were Clinton and Trump
ABOUT THAT WALL
After all the talk during the campaign about immigration, it turned out to be a low priority for most voters: Just 1 in 10 voters said immigration was the most important issue facing the country.
As for Trump’s plan to build a “big, beautiful” wall, more than half of voters opposed the idea.
Further, 7 in 10 Americans thought immigrants now in the country illegally should be allowed to stay, and just a quarter thought they should be deported. That despite Trump’s tough talk about removing those who are in the country illegally.
Immigration was the top issue for about a fifth of Trump voters and less than 1 in 10 Clinton voters. Twenty percent of Hispanics chose immigration as the top issue. Only about 10 percent of other voters picked it as the No. 1 issue.
The economy was the top issue for both Trump and Clinton supporters.
SPLIT VIEWS ON ACCURACY OF VOTE COUNT
After all of Trump’s talk about a “rigged” election, most Americans went to the polls with at least a moderate amount of confidence that their votes would be counted accurately.
Those who cast ballots for Clinton were far more likely to feel very confident about the accuracy of the vote: About 7 in 10 Clinton voters felt very confident in the count, compared with about 3 in 10 Trump voters.
Overall, about half of voters felt very confident in the vote count, and a third were somewhat confident.
Less than 2 in 10 said they weren’t very confident or were not at all confident in the vote count.
In 2004 and 2008, voters were only slightly more certain about the accuracy of the vote count. About half of voters were very confident in the count, and 4 in 10 were somewhat confident.
The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research with 18,778 voters as they left their polling places at 350 randomly selected sites throughout the United States supplemented by 4,404 telephone interviews with mail, early and absentee voters. The results among all those voting have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Associated Press Writer Bill Barrow contributed to this report.