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Iowa voters pick Trump, but unhappy with both candidates

The AP takes a closer look at the mood of the electorate.
Clinton, Trump

CHICAGO (AP) — Donald Trump’s victory in Iowa was propelled by voters who are deeply unhappy with the federal government and say they want change, even though many have reservations about both candidates, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Trump won the support of white men and those with less than a college education, while Democrat Hillary Clinton drew support from college-educated women, minority voters and younger voters. At the same time, voters were skeptical, doubting the honesty and trustworthiness of both candidates.

A closer look at the mood of the electorate:

Voter Discontent

A large proportion of voters — 7 in 10 — were either dissatisfied or angry about the way the federal government is working, with more than 6 in 10 who felt that way voting for Trump. Among the less than 3 in 10 with a positive view of the federal government, most voted for Clinton.

But they weren’t particularly happy with either candidate, with about 6 in 10 saying they had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton and Trump. Almost two-thirds said they didn’t think Clinton was honest and trustworthy while almost 6 in 10 felt that way about Trump.

What’s more, 3 in 10 voters said they liked their candidates but had reservations, while the same proportion said their vote reflected their dislike for the other candidate. Just under 4 in 10 said they strongly favored their candidate.

Issues And Candidate Qualifications

More than half of voters said the economy was the top issue facing the country, and they split their votes between Clinton and Trump. Almost one-fifth said terrorism was most important, and they favored Trump. Slightly more than 1 in 10 cited immigration as a top issue, but those who did overwhelmingly favored Trump. About the same proportion worried most about foreign policy, and 6 in 10 of them chose Clinton.

About 4 in 10 voters said they most wanted a candidate who can bring needed change, with a large majority of them voting for Trump. Clinton received overwhelming support from voters who wanted someone with the right experience and more than half the votes from those who valued a candidate with good judgment and someone who cares about people like them.

Only 4 in 10 voters believed Trump had the temperament or qualifications to be president, while about half believed that Clinton did.


About 6 in 10 voters said Clinton’s use of a private email server — a major controversy in the campaign — bothered them somewhat or a lot, with about three-fourths of those voters supporting Trump.

Almost 7 in 10 voters said Trump’s treatment of women bothered them somewhat or a lot, with just under two-thirds of them casting ballots for Clinton.

Voter Characteristics

Iowa voters were divided among gender, race and education.

More than half of women backed Clinton and more than half of men — including 6 in 10 white men — supported Trump. Two-thirds of nonwhite voters supported Clinton, though they comprised only about one-tenth of those who cast ballots.

Clinton led among voters ages 18-24, getting half of their votes, while Trump drew his strongest support from voters 25-29 and 40-49. Clinton received more than half the votes from white college-educated women, compared to 4 in 10 for Trump, while Trump had solid majorities among both college- and non-college-educated men, including more than 6 in 10 white men without a college degree.

Senate Race

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley won over men and woman and led in all age categories against his opponent, Democrat Patty Judge. More than 6 in 10 men voted for Grassley, as did more than half of women.


The survey of 2,972 Iowa voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 40 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 662 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 28 through Nov. 6. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.