The Question of the “Trump Effect”: Basic Voting Characteristics, Economic Indicators, and Migration Flows in the 2016 Presidential Election

By Pablo A. Ordóñez Bravo. Pomona College

This paper examines the correlations between basic voter characteristics, economic indicators, migration flows and the change in Republican presidential vote share in the 2016 election. Using county-level data from 2,784 counties and county-equivalents in the United States, the paper develops a regression analysis that finds these correlations do in fact exist. The correlations reveal that 1) basic voter characteristics have strong explanatory power, 2) poverty and unemployment have a statistically significant near-zero effect on voting behavior, and that 3) different immigrant characteristics have conflicting impacts on the Republican presidential vote. I conclude that an inexplicable “Trump effect” does not appear to exist, and that the 2016 election appears to be significantly understandable through regression analysis.

Read the full paper here.