President-elect Donald Trump’s success at breaking the so-called “blue wall” – those Rust Belt states that had voted for a Democrat in every election since at least 1992 – was the key to his victory. To help understand how he did this, I compared exit poll data from the last three elections in those states – 2012, 2014, and 2016. There were three over-arching themes in terms of demographics: 1) Trump out-performed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney among men, especially white men; 2) Clinton underperformed Pres. Obama’s 2012 margins with women and younger voters; 3) In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin the electorate was older than it was in 2012, but not as old as it was back in the mid-term election of 2014. The exit polls also show that Trump’s success in these three states was about more than voter frustration with the state of the economy. In fact, Hillary Clinton did better among those who said the economy was “the most important issue facing the country,” than Obama did four years earlier. But, among those who said they wanted to

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