In winning Louisiana’s vote Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump received more votes than any candidate in state history.
His opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, got fewer Louisiana votes – and a lower percentage of the total cast in the state – than any Democratic presidential candidate since 1988.
Local analysts looking over the results Wednesday attributed those facts to sheer numbers – more voters were registered than ever before – coupled with a lack of enthusiasm among African American voters because Clinton wrote off Louisiana as a GOP lock. Except when her husband, Bill Clinton, won in 1992 and 1996, the last Democrat to have won a presidential contest in Louisiana was in 1976.
Trump collected 1.18 million votes, or 58 percent of the ballots cast Tuesday, according to complete but unofficial tallies by the Secretary of State’s Office.
Though Trump had more actual votes, his 58 percent of the total ballots cast was the same as received by Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee who won Louisiana in 2012. Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain received 59 percent of the Louisiana vote in the 2008 presidential election, but polled 30,000 ballots less than Trump.
Louisiana had 3,022,075 voters participate in Tuesday’s election. In the 2008 presidential election, the number was 2,940,985, according to the Secretary of State.
Generally, presidential elections attract far more voter participation than even governor’s elections. John Bel Edwards, for instance, took in 646,924 votes and soundly beat U.S. Sen. David Vitter in last fall’s gubernatorial election, and Bill Cassidy defeated incumbent Mary Landrieu by polling 712,379 votes to her 561,210 in the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate.
Trump won 53 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, while Clinton took urban centers including East Baton Rouge, Orleans and Caddo parishes. He had a 39 percentage point advantage over Clinton in Acadiana and a 25 percentage point advantage in north Louisiana, according to an analysis by Edward Chervenak, director of the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center.
Another key finding was that the white precincts voting for Trump had 10 percent higher turnout than the majority-black precincts voting for Clinton, he said.
Baton Rouge-based pollster and demographer John Couvillon put the difference between white and black turnout at about 7 percent, compared to 3-5 percent lower in the previous two presidential elections. Chervenak and Couvillon's methods differed slightly, but their results were similar.
Couvillon thumbed through precinct vote counts Wednesday to look at voter turnout by race. Exact statistics sorted by gender and race won’t be compiled by the Secretary of State for a couple of weeks.
Clinton had 779,535 votes, or 38 percent of those cast Tuesday. President Barack Obama received 41 percent of the vote in 2012 and 40 percent in 2008. In 2012, Obama had more votes than Clinton got Tuesday in all but six parishes.
Couvillon calculated that 28 percent of the voters on Tuesday were African American. In 2012, black turnout was about 31 percent.
“That lessened minority intensity is, in my opinion, why Hillary Clinton got 38 percent of the vote and not the 40 or 41 percent Democrats usually expect,” Couvillon said.
Albert Samuels, a professor of political science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, said Clinton was popular in the African American community. Her problem was that black turnout was lower than in 2012, when Obama was at the top of the ticket.
Clinton wrote off Louisiana early on to focus on states where a Democratic candidate has a better chance, he said. Campaigning in Louisiana wouldn’t have turned this red state blue, but it would have brought her numbers closer to what Democrats traditionally poll, Samuels said.
“She definitely underperformed here in Louisiana. It is significant that she was below 40 percent,” he said.