How Trump Won The Republican Primary Nomination


Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Donald Trump’s remaining rivals for the Republican Party nomination, have dropped out of the nomination race following the outcome of the Indiana Primary Election on Tuesday night. While Trump has held the position of front-runner since the early stages of the election, the sudden withdrawal from both Cruz and Kasich now means Trump is the only Republican Party candidate still running.

At the Indiana Republican Party State Primary Election, Trump secured 53% of the popular vote and a further 51 delegates to take to the party national convention in the Republican Primary in Indiana, which has taken his overall total to 1,047 and within 200 of the formal nomination. Comparatively, Cruz and Kasich gained only 36.7% and 7.5% of the popular vote, and their withdrawals today following the announcement of these results highlights the mountain both nominees would have had to climb to catch up with Trump’s commanding lead.

But who actually voted for Trump?

I won everything… I won short people, tall people. I won fat people, skinny people. I won highly educated, OK educated, and practically not educated at all. I won the evangelicals big and I won the military.

Despite Trump’s claims following his success at the South Carolina Primary Election in February, Trump’s policies do not represent traditional Republican values, but were instead particularly popular amongst a range of key demographic groups:

  1. Male voters

Trump was particularly successful in attracting support from male voters. Before the primaries began, a study conducted by ‘The Washington Post’ found that second largest group of support came from male voters, with 47% of males saying they supported Trump. This allegiance may even have grown since the start of the campaign, evidenced by the fact that Indiana exit polls have reportedly shown that seven out of ten males voted for Trump. A clear gender divide is also apparent, as the Washington Post survey also found that only 28% of women supported Trump’s candidacy for the Republican Nomination. Trump’s unpopular policies on a range of social issues are believed to be the main cause of such a gender divide, particularly Trump’s policies on abortion.

  1. Voters with no college education

Voters who did not attend college or completed further education were also a major voting bloc behind Trump’s nomination success. The Washington Post links this to Trump’s restrictive immigration policy and consequently less competition to secure a job, yet due to the Republican Party’s traditional focus on wealthier, older voters, it seems likely that many voters are using Trump’s popularity as an opportunistic protest vote against a party which has frequently ignored their wishes. Exit polls as the campaign has progressed clearly support this trend by less educated voters, with PBS estimating that from the exit polls of all Republican state primaries already completed, 47% of voters with no education qualifications past high school supported Trump.

  1. Middle-aged and older voters

While much of Trump’s support came from younger voters without college education, Trump has also been particularly effective at gaining support from middle aged and older voters. Exit polls from all states highlight that 41.9% of 45-64 year olds and 42.3% of over 65’s voted for Trump, chiefly for immigration and terrorism policies. Neither Cruz nor Kasich were as successful in targeting middle-aged voters, as while both supported more moderate policies for both immigration and terrorism that should have been in line with traditional Republicanism, Trump was particularly effective at getting more extreme Republicans out to vote.


Wessex Scene Politics Editor 2016/17 Modern History and Politics Student

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