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Poor well-being in U.S. associated with shift to Trump in 2016

Staff Writer |
U.S. counties in 2016 that took the biggest jump in voting Republican for president between 2012 and 2016 had residents who reported below-average satisfaction with their current lives and below-average optimism for the future.

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Accordingly, counties that shifted most strongly to the Democratic candidate reported above-average life satisfaction and higher optimism for the future.

These county-level findings are based on more than 176,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted from January to December 2016.

Over 3,000 counties nationwide were aggregated into one of six clusters based on the change in their vote for president from 2012 to 2016, ranging from more than 10-percentage-point Republican gains in 2016 to more than 10-point Democratic gains.

Examining 2016 data that were restricted to just January through October, thus excluding results captured after the election itself, resulted in very similar results to those found from the entire year.

This analysis was done in partnership with researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and was originally published in PLOS ONE.


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