US Elections: Why Donald Trump won!

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Donalds Trump’s comprehensive win over Hillary Clinton came as shock to people outside the US. However, if we dig into why a majority of US citizens preferred Trump to Hillary, it becomes clear that despite his nasty personality, the layman could understand what he was trying to say and it resonated with ground level problems that Americans face – which we outsiders can probably never perceive.

I watched the ABC’s coverage on the US elections and here some snapshots and tidbits that give us an insight into Why Donald Trump won the US presidency!

These are of course exit poll projections – exit polls that got it wrong. So it is quite ballpark,  but definitely along the right direction. It is speculated that the exit polls got it wrong because many were not honest about who they were going to vote!

1. Trump made it clear to the common man that America’s interests matter more than anything else. Particularly those who saw their jobs being outsourced or given to an immigrant (legal or illegal) saw him as the guy who could turn it around. Politics is about perception and he created the right perception. It is far from the truth though as increased automation implies that not everyone can be employed.

This is, in my opinion, the most decisive reason why Trump won.


This demographic (the working class) wanted better-living conditions and better job opportunities. Trump won them over by saying he will work towards this.

Evangelical Christians (who believe in spiritual re-birth) and Mormons are supposed to have voted in large numbers in favour of Trump (~ 60-80%) because Trump said he would appoint Supreme Court judges who would overturn same-sex marriage. This is a key factor among trump voters.


Note: USA is a deeply religious country. You will not notice that if you see their TV or films but it is a deeply, deeply religious!

Other key statistics: (source)

About 40% of people agreed with Trump that there should be a wall separating USA and Mexico.

About 38% wanted a person who can bring about change. This is key because they were not happy with the Obama administration and saw Hillary as a continuation of that.

The economy was key for 52% of the electorate and they liked Trump’s idea of change.

Forty-six percent of voters wanted a more conservative president than Obama – which Trump certainly was!

In conclusion, my findings reveal that Americans who strongly believed in charity begins at home and Americans who are strongly conservative have voted for Trump. Do let me know if I have missed anything.

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About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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  1. It is slightly ironical that you quote exit polls just after the debacle (history making ?) of data interpretation 😉 It will require a lot more analyses to understand how and why …. social scientists and political junkies will certainly look forward to such analyses.

    1. More than slightly. At the moment these are the trends available and I am fairly confident that none of them are wrong. Naturally the exact %s will never be known.

  2. Wisdom comes only as hindsight, just as mutual fund performance. Prior to election media was full of negative reviews about Trump. But post election, Trump has suddenly become a positive character!!!!!

    1. No! The Americans understand that as a person he is eccentric to say the least but like his agenda and hence voted for him.

  3. I believe the reasons are similar to why BJP won. Too much of political correctness has become the order of the day in the political sphere and people are genuinely fed up with it. Lots of genuine issues that actually affect the natives/locals are pushed under the carpet in the name of political correctness, globalization, secularism or say what you will.

    Obviously people feel helpless when political leaders are not willing to address their concerns. So, when they finally come across someone to who lends a ear to them, understands their pain, is willing to tow the hard line, is willing to tackle the difficult issues, it’s no surprise that they will vote en masse for that person and it happened to be Trump for the Americans.

    The working class form the backbone of any nation and they have spoken. It’s great to see a parallel between both nations here. I think Trump, despite his shortcomings is the need of the hour for the Americans.

  4. Nowdays, if you speak what voters “want to hear”, half battle is won. How Trump will achieve it or means, ethical or not, no one cares. Americans voted for the “typical brash pompous american” and not the politician. Heil!!!!

  5. Dear Pattu Sir,

    Please see Michael Moore’s interviews on many U. S talk shows (Eg Real Time with Bill Maher) well before Election Day. This man had a good ground level idea of the great chance that Trump had this year and the reasons behind it (mostly in line with your views)

    The concerns of his voters have some merit but unfortunately this man became the representative of the people fed up of the political establishment. He was at the right place at the right time. Similar situation as when he was born to a multi millionaire 😀

  6. CNN Reporter – Mr. Trump do you say the election was rigged?

    Trump – My campaign was not for white collar educated liberal folks like you young lady. I spoke to real american people. What you call them?

    CNN – you mean WWC? – working white class? non college educated working whites?

    Trump – yeah yeah..the trailer trash white trash redneck people…those are my people..I simply luv them..they voted for me…REAL AMERICANS…You wouldn’t vote for me right? you look too beautiful 🙂

    CNN – ?????????

  7. one reporter summarized his win briefly as more people wanted a closed country where their interests are taken care instead of globalization & giving jobs to people from other countries, outsourcing etc. this seems correct..

  8. The margin of vote difference is very slender in swing states. One reason is, the people did not go out in troves to polling booth. People attitude is like, I like Hillary but did not go to polling booth. Making your supporters to go to polling booth is another dimension candidates needs to be wary of.. Obama was very successful in that, where he had a mechanism to make black americans go to polling station !!!! Hillary lacked it…

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