The Outstate Effect – Why Clinton Lost The Election

logoBy Michael Barone

Key Points

  • Hillary Clinton lost the election because of voting results in the outstate Midwest—counties beyond the region’s million-plus metro areas.
  • The 50 electoral votes Donald Trump captured in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were responsible for his victory.
  • In the future, the 2016 election results might draw more politicians’ attention to voters in the previously disregarded outstate Midwest.

The Outstate Effect – Why Clinton Lost The Election by Latinos Ready To Vote


Hillary Clinton lost the election in the Midwest1 and, to wit, in specific parts of the outstate Midwest—the counties beyond the region’s million-plus metro areas. In this paper, I break down the popular vote into metro areas and outstate regions in seven Midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin—that contain substantial metropolitan areas with more than one million in population. I did the same for Pennsylvania, where, as I wrote, “two-thirds of voters beyond metro Philadelphia are Midwestern in culture and concerns.”

Donald Trump’s capture of 50 electoral votes in five states—Iowa (which contains no million-plus metro areas), Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—is responsible for his Electoral College victory. These states—except Iowa, which voted narrowly for George W. Bush in 2004—were supposedly part of a “blue wall” because they had not voted Republican for president since 1988 or 1984.

Read the full report. 

  1. Michael Barone, “Clinton’s Dishonesty Cost Her the Midwest — and the Election,” Washington Examiner, November 16, 2016,
  2. The metro area definitions are taken from the “Statistical Abstract of the United States,” with some modifications. See United States Census Bureau, “Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: Concepts, Components, and Population,” Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2012,
  3. I have added Ottawa County to the Grand Rapids metro area and subtracted Chisago, Isanti, and Sherburne counties from the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area because I felt Ottawa County (largest city: Holland) belongs with the heavily Dutch-American Grand Rapids area and because the three exurban Minnesota counties vote more like outstaters than metropolitans. I listed the Madison metro area separately even though it contains far fewer than one million people because it is so distinctive from the rest of outstate Wisconsin and relatively large (10–11 percent of the state) that it distorts the outstate percentages.
  4. Barone, “Clinton’s Dishonesty Cost Her the Midwest — and the Election.”

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