How Donald Trump won the US election: Why the polls were so wrong

By Debra Killalea

President-elect Donald Trump defied the polls and pundits to claim an incredible victory over rival Hillary Clinton.

But he had a secret weapon no one counted on - undercover supporters.

Despite Ms Clinton winning 59,796,240 (or 47.7 per cent) of the popular vote at the time of writing compared to Mr Trump's 59,589,682 or (47.5 per cent), it was the latter who clinched the presidency.

It wouldn't be the first time a candidate who snared the popular vote didn't win the top job. Al Gore lost to George W Bush in 2000, despite winning around 500,000 more votes because his rival won Florida, a state which has 29 Electoral College votes at stake.

But according to the President-elect's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway the reason he won was largely down to what she called "undercover Trump supporters".

Speaking on Fox & Friends, she said these supporters were a small but potent force who never revealed their intention to vote for the Republican nominee.

Ms Conway said it was clear that polling and projections indicating he would lose had totally missed the mark and hadn't accounted for this group.

She also said these undercover Trump supporters, or hidden voters, included African-Americans, women, Hispanics, unionists and even Democrat voters who felt they didn't have to reveal who they wanted to win.

"It's not that they're embarrassed they're rooting for Donald Trump," she said.
"They're tired of arguing with people in their social circles and families."

President-elect Donald Trump, left, arrives to speak at an election night rally in New York. From left, Trump, his son Barron, wife Melania, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump. Photo / AP
President-elect Donald Trump, left, arrives to speak at an election night rally in New York. From left, Trump, his son Barron, wife Melania, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump. Photo / AP

She went on to say that one of the biggest appeals about Mr Trump was that he didn't need the fame or money or even the status, yet ran for president.

"The man is brilliant and the man is gusty," she said.

Ms Conway said she believed being an outsider had also helped as people didn't regard Mr Trump as part of the establishment while Ms Clinton hadn't gelled as well with voters.

Despite having more money and more people on the ground, Team Trump "outworked them, and frankly, we outsmarted and outclassed them in some cases", she said.

She insisted the Republican billionaire "did a great job sealing the deal".

"Take it to the bank - candidates matter. There's no substitute for a great candidate," she said.

VOTES MATTER

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP

The Clinton campaign banked heavily on the Latino vote in Florida, where a defeat for Mr Trump would have all but guaranteed a Ms Clinton presidency.

But that wave of Latino voters never materialised, and Mr Trump claimed the state's 29 electoral votes.

That was the first step in Ms Clinton's defeat. After that, the key to victory for both candidates was the more white, working class band of midwestern states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Several of those states have delivered power to the Democrats for a generation. All of them voted for Barack Obama twice.

According to the Associated Press, Mr Trump's surprise surge through those "Rust Belt" states was fuelled by working class white voters, largely older men, who were angry with the federal government and among the most desperate for change.

According to the exit polls, a whopping 58 per cent of white voters chose Mr Trump. Seventy-four per cent of non-white voters picked Ms Clinton, but they formed a much smaller share of the electorate.

While Ms Clinton's support was strong in big cities, it wasn't enough to overcome Mr Trump's overwhelming advantages in small towns and rural areas.

There was also a significant gender gap. Fifty-four per cent of women voted for Ms Clinton, while 53 per cent of men voted for Mr Trump.

'DEMOCRATS HAVE FAILED US'

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Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore was more blistering in his explanation for Ms Clinton's defeat.

Writing on his Facebook page that the Democrats had failed miserably, Moore said it was time to return the party to the people.

He also said it was time to fire "all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn't let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on".

Moore's Morning After To-Do-List, which has been shared on Facebook more than 120,000 times, also called on people to stop saying they are shocked and stunned because the reality was "you were in a bubble and weren't paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair".

Moore goes on to write that years of being neglected by both parties had created an anger and need of revenge in people against the establishment.

"Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all 'You're fired!' Trump's victory is no surprise," Moore said.

"He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that."

He concludes by reminding people that Ms Clinton won the Popular Vote and until that system changes, Americans will continue to have presidents they didn't elect and want.

- news.com.au

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