December 8, 2016

Low Approval of Trump’s Transition but Outlook for His Presidency Improves

6. Awareness of election results

In the wake of Trump’s victory, most Americans are able to correctly identify which candidate won the most Electoral College votes, most individual votes nationwide and the most votes in the state they live in.

About eight-in-ten (78%) correctly identify Trump as the candidate who received the most Electoral College votes. Most also correctly identify Hillary Clinton (72%) as the candidate who won the most individual votes nationwide. A slightly larger majority (84%) can correctly identify the candidate who received the most votes in the state where they live. Taken together, 58% of the public correctly responds to all three questions and can name the candidate who won the Electoral College, the popular vote and their home state.

Following the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, 78% could identify Gore as the candidate who won the popular vote in January 2001; this is slightly higher than the 72% who identify Clinton as the winner of the popular vote in the current survey.

Those who live in states Trump won and those who live in states that Clinton won are equally knowledgeable about which candidate won their home state. Fully 85% of those currently living in states where Trump won correctly say he received the most votes in their state; 83% of those living in states where Clinton won say that she received the most votes in their state.

There is a significant partisan divide in knowledge of which candidate won the popular vote. About eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (81%) say that Clinton won the most votes nationwide, compared with a smaller 68%-majority of Republicans and Republican leaners.

There is not much of a knowledge gap when it comes to the Electoral College vote and the vote count in a respondents’ home state.

Comparable majorities of Republicans (88%) and Democrats (83%) correctly identify the candidate who won the most votes in their home state. Similarly, most Republicans (83%) and Democrats (79%) know Trump won the most Electoral College votes.

There are significant demographic differences in the share who answer all three of the election results questions correctly.

Men (62%) are more likely than women (53%) to know which candidate received the most votes nationwide (Clinton), the most Electoral College votes (Trump) and which candidate won their state.

About two-thirds of white respondents (65%) are able to answer all three questions correctly; only about four-in-ten blacks (41%) and Hispanics (39%) get all three questions right.

There are wide differences in election knowledge by levels of education. Nearly nine-in-ten postgraduates (88%) answer all three questions correctly, compared with 80% of college graduates, 59% of those with some college experience and 39% of those with no more than a high school diploma.

About as many Democrats and Democratic leaners (63%) as Republicans and Republican leaners (58%) get all three election results questions rights. Within both parties there are divides by ideology. Among Democrats, 70% of liberals answer all three questions correctly compared with 57% of those who describe themselves as moderate or conservative. Among Republicans, 62% of conservatives know which candidate won the most Electoral College votes, the popular vote and their home state, compared with 54% of moderate and liberal Republicans.