While much has been made of which demographics were behind President-elect Donald Trump's unexpected victory Nov. 8, The Economist has examined voter data and reports areas of Trump support match closely with places that have higher levels of people in poor health.
Most analyses have discussed white voters who do not have college degrees – almost 40 percent of voters in that group voted for Trump – but the next highest percentage found by the Economist's number crunchers was among people who have some sort of health issue.
Though there is significant county-by-county overlap among the two groups, The Economist notes, "Even when controlling for a battery of other indicators — race, education, age, gender, income, marital status, immigration and employment — these health metrics remain significant and predictive."
Trump's message was heard loudly among those suffering illness.
The Economist suggested Democrat Hillary Clinton might have been able to capture an Electoral College victory had a series of swing state medical stats gone the other way. They include:
- If 7 percent fewer people in Michigan had diabetes.
- If 8 percent more Pennsylvania voters took part in regular physical activity.
- If 5 percent fewer people in Wisconsin engaged in heavy drinking.
"But such counter-factual predictions are always impossible to test," The Economist admitted. "Unfortunately, there is no way to re-run the election with healthier voters and compare the results. But the evidence suggests that Mr. Trump performed well in communities that are literally dying."
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