Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-5-2018

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


The 2016 Presidential election shocked everyone, including the candidates, with the results directly refuting most of the widely accepted surveys and polls. What fears, demographics and ideas changed in the election to make it a historic defeat for the democratic party? Why exactly did Trump win and why was it such a surprise? I examine and compare the results from 2012 and 2016 of the American National Election Study and the Chapman Survey of American Fears to discuss what has changed in the minds of Americans. In the continually polarized media, I have seen theory after theory about what exactly happened. Some people theorize that it was Russia, white women, lack of democratic voter turnout, Trump actually listening to what Americans want, and so on. One of the most prominent theories we examine is that the working class finally hit a breaking point and wanted someone to listen to them, and this was Trump. Trump catered many of his political speeches to hit on the issues of working-class voters. There has also been an emergence of Democrats voting Republican in 2016 for a variety of reasons. Finally, we will discuss how race played a significant role in this election, unlike what we have seen before. Race has always been a critical contention for many Americans, but this election proved more critical than ever. In my findings, I examine how racial issues are more important than every single other issue for voters, including the fear of white people no longer being the majority in the US, which proved to be significant.


Presented at the Fall 2018 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.