Which Demographics Make Up the Democratic Candidates’ Support?

There has been a lot of talk about which groups support which candidate in the Democratic Party Primaries. Instead of just listening to those stories, I decided to look into it myself and use available data to see just how each candidate’s support looks like.

To do this, I combined the raw vote totals from thegreenpapers.com with exit poll data on race and gender from CNN for the states where those are available. I then extrapolated the “missing votes” for Bernie Sanders so that the total proportion of votes in the exit poll states would match the overall proportion. (The missing states are: CO, MN, KS, LA, NE, ME, AZ, ID, UT, AK, HI, WA, and now WY). That accounts for roughly 15.4 million of the 16.4 million votes cast (94%).

CNN has several different breakdowns of race, but to keep it consistent between states I used white vs. non-white. Of the votes cast so far, 9.56 million has been cast by white voters and 5.87 by non-whites (62% and 38% respectively).

Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
White  4.6M (48%)  5.0M (52%)
Non-White  4.2M (72%)  1.6M (28%)
Total  8.8M (57%)  6.6M (43%)

Sanders is rather narrowly winning the white voters so far, while Clinton is dominating among non-white voters. While this might seem to contrast the fact that Sanders are having landslide wins in “white states”, those states have relative few voters. Clinton did win the white vote in states where a lot of Democrats voted such as Texas, Virginia, Florida and Ohio, getting about 1.54 million votes to Sanders’ 1.24 million (55%). Of the 21 states that we have data for, Clinton has won the white vote in 11 of them. However, Sanders has most likely won it in the majority of the 13 states where we do not have data. In the non-white vote Clinton is dominating, and she has won it in all but New Hampshire and Vermont.

This is another demographic that is interesting to look into. Are women or men more likely to vote in the Democratic Primary, and which candidate do they prefer. Of the votes in our data, 6.6 million have been cast by men and 8.8 million by women (43% and 57% respectively).

Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Men  3.3M (50%)  3.3M (50%)
Women  5.5M (62%)  3.3M (38%)
Total  8.8M (57%)  6.6M (43%)

Men have split their vote evenly between the candidates, while women have so far preferred Clinton. She has won the female vote in all but 4 states (NH, OK, VT and WI), while getting over 70% in 9 states (SC, AL, AR, GA, TN, TX, VA, MS and FL). Men have split their states 10 for Clinton and 11 for Sanders. Again, we don’t have data for the caucuses that Sanders has won handily. However, these have been extrapolated into the dataset by giving Sanders 180 000 extra votes, split evenly between men and women.

Candidate breakdown:
We usually break down the demographics based on which candidate they supported. But how about how the composition of each candidate looks? When it comes to race, Hillary Clinton’s votes are made up of roughly equal parts white and non-white votes, while Bernie Sanders’ gender composition is split evenly between men and women. In the below figure, I have broken down each candidate based on their support. The charts are scaled to reflect the difference in total votes, and since Bernie Sanders’ vote total is about 75% of Clinton’s the area of his chart is 75% of her chart.

160409 Democratic Primary

Voter demographics distribution for the Democratic candidates.

To summarize, Clinton has a 57% to 43% lead in total votes by a coalition of white and non-white voters alike while also having the support of women.

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