It’s been repeated endlessly that Tuesday’s election featured two of the most disliked presidential candidates in US history.
But one metric may put into perspective exactly how unpopular Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were with voters.
In 14 states, down-ballot candidates received more votes than presidential candidates — even when you factor in third-party candidates.
In some cases, like in North Carolina and Missouri, voters turned off by Trump and Clinton may have still been compelled to chime in on hotly contested races for senator and governor.
In North Carolina, about 30,000 more people cast ballots for incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper than for any of the presidential nominees, who earned 4.6 million combined votes, according to data from The New York Times. (The extra turnout made a difference — the race has still not been called.)
But the trend held up even in states where down-ballot races weren’t particularly close. In Oregon, where Sen. Ron Wyden and Gov. Kate Brown easily won re-election, their races drew about 75,000 more votes than the presidential contest.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, the race for the state’s lone House seat drew 2,000 more voters than the presidential race this year. Don Young has easily held his seat for the past four decades.
The discrepancy was even more exaggerated in Vermont, where about 314,000 voters in Vermont cast their ballots in the governor race, and 313,000 for the Senate, compared to just 291,000 who voted for president. That’s a difference of almost 8%.
One state that is absent from the list is Nevada, where voters are allowed to choose “None of these candidates.” The option received about 29,000 votes out of 1.1 million total votes. If those voters had skipped the presidential race altogether, Nevada would be the 15th state on this list.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why some voters participated only in down-ballot races, but the anomaly suggests a stunning rejection of politics as usual.
The 14 states where down-ballot races saw more votes than the presidential race are:
Note: Only about 66% of precincts in Washington have reported results as of this publication. Between 98% and 100% of precincts in the other states have reported.
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