Divided America: Shock and fear, happiness and surprise

November 22, 2016, 2:30 PM GMT+0

Disappointment and fear is the dominant sentiment among Clinton supporters, while Trump supporters are pleasantly surprised at the outcome

This election exposed a divided America -- perhaps no surprise to anyone. Among other splits, there was a gender gap, a race gap, an urban-rural gap, an age gap, a religious gap and an education gap. Donald Trump’s election was a shock to many (66% overall in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll said they were surprised by the outcome, including 48% of Trump’s own voters).

The spoken response to the outcome provides a window into the mood of this divided electorate. Asked for one word that described their reaction to the outcome, “surprise” registered on both sides of the divide. But from that point on, the split couldn’t be more clear.

Trump voters were happy, relieved, and found the outcome awesome and fantastic. But shock and surprise were dominant. When Hillary Clinton’s voters looked at the outcome, they too were surprised, but they expressed far stronger emotions: devastating, disastrous and terrifying were popular reactions. And while it was Trump who talked about a rigged election beforehand, afterwards, that was something that came to the minds of Clinton supporters, not Trump’s.

Results are not yet final, but this year at least 47,000,000 votes were cast early – mailed in by absentee voters or cast at early voting polling places. Nine in ten saw no evidence of rigging or voting intimidation, though more minority voters than white voters said they did.

But there were some traditional voting day problems for those who cast a ballot in person, especially things like long lines, malfunctioning machines and untrained staff. But there was little difference between Trump and Clinton on what they saw. And potential voter fraud, ineligible people trying to vote, something that before the election worried far more Trump supporters than Clinton supporters, was just about as likely to be spotted by both candidates’ voters.

See the rest of this week's YouGov/Economist Poll

YouGov/Economist Poll archives