As it turns out, Russian interference may not have been reason why President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election--it was the fact that more than one out of 10 people who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary ended up voting for Trump in the general election. According to the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, fewer than 80 percent of Sanders primary voters voted for Clinton in the general.
Of the non-Clinton voters, 12 percent voted for Trump, and eight percent went for a third-party candidate such as the Green Party's Jill Stein.
12% of Bernie primary voters ended up voting for Trump in the general election. (8% for a third-party candidate)https://t.co/8VOdhWfht0— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) August 23, 2017
According to Political Wire, it was these Sanders-to-Trump voters who were able to push the key swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania over the edge to Trump.
More important, in the three critical states that tipped the election, Sanders-to-Trump voters ultimately gave Trump the margin he needed to win:
- In Wisconsin, roughly 51K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 22K votes.
- In Michigan, roughly 47K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 10K votes.
- In Pennsylvania, roughly 116K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 44K votes.
Without these states, Trump would not have won the presidency.
Interestingly, the data also shows that the majority of the "defectors" to Trump were not big fans of Obama at the time of the election, which Political Wire suggests means that the election was more about the "status quo" than anything else. Still, it's rather curious that a fifth of people who voted for the more lefty Democratic candidate in the primary were so ready to switch to Trump.