A few days before the election, I listed thirty precincts to watch to see if the #NeverTrump movement still had some legs. Here is a list of those precincts. My criteria for these precincts was that they needed to be strong Republican precincts (with a gap between Democrats and Republicans of at least of 20%) but where Donald Trump performed poorly.
Yesterday, Escambia County finally posted their precinct-level results, and therefore we can see if there was truly a #NeverTrump feeling in these precincts. And guess what…there was.
In 2012, these precincts combined voted 68.96% for Mitt Romney. In 2016, that number fell drastically to 60.78%, a 8.18% loss for the Republicans. Additionally, voter turnout in these precincts fell 3.33% compared to 2012. Of these precincts, Trump only improved on Romney’s performance in three of the thirty precincts. Also, voter turnout only increased in 33% of the precincts. Here are the final results of those precincts.
When I posted my original article, the question I was seeking to answer is if voters decided not to turn out to vote, or if voters might switch over to Hillary. Looking at the results, there seems to be a mixture of both.
The most interesting cases were in Pinellas County Precincts 138, 143 (both in Northeastern St. Petersburg) and 611 (Clearwater), Collier County Precinct 416 (Naples), Hillsborough County Precinct 927 (Sun City Center), Orange County Precinct 107 (Winter Garden), and Sarasota County Precinct 201 (Longboat Key). In each these precincts, voter turnout increased, but Donald Trump lost anywhere between 6.6% percent (Orange 107) and 11.61% (Sarasota 201) compared to Mitt Romney. Because we see an increase in turnout as well as this shift, this means that a number of people who voted for Romney in 2012 actually voted for Clinton in 2016. In Sarasota 201, this could mean as many as 468 voters flipped over to the Democratic nominee.
The precinct that I said to watch on Election Day was Escambia County Precinct 110, which seems to show the most potential to be #NeverTrump, with Trump only receiving a little over 8% in that precinct during the primary. However, his vote total did not drop drastically. Trump only lost 3.78% compared to Romney. What is interesting is that voter turnout in that precinct plummeted by 15.36%. Because there was very little movement even with the turnout drop, this seems to indicate the voters who would have usually voted for the Democratic candidate also stayed home.
If any precinct exemplified Republican voter apathy, it was Polk County Precinct 223. In this precinct, voter turnout fell by 26.14%. The Republican 2016 performance also fell by 7.12%. This is the precinct where voters who were Republican just decided to not turn out to vote.
Overall, it seems that both vote flipping to Hillary Clinton as well as lagging Republican turnout played a role in the 8.18% drop for Trump in the #NeverTrump precincts. Will another election with Trump leading the ticket help the Democrats even more in 2020? Possibly. But one thing is certain, the #NeverTrump movement is still there. Maybe it isn’t as strong as it was expected to be, but it did have an impact nonetheless. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, there were more pro-Trump precincts in the Republican primary than #NeverTrump precincts.