CT Town-By-Town Results: Trump Won Many Small Towns Obama Won Four Years Ago
A closer examination of town-by-town results shows that while Trump won many of the small, rural towns President Barack Obama won four years ago, he failed to carry the wealthier, well-educated New York suburbs where Mitt Romney was victorious.
While Trump failed to win traditional Republican strongholds in affluent and highly educated Fairfield County, the president-elect found deep support in Connecticut's old factory towns.
Percentage-wise, Trump — whose campaign promised that the state was "in play" last summer — had the best showing for a GOP candidate in Connecticut since George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004. On Tuesday, Clinton won 53 percent of the vote compared to Trump's 41 percent.
Turnout for this election matched the past two presidential elections, with roughly 75 to 80 percent of the state's 2.1 million registered voters casting ballots, according to the secretary of the state's office. This year was the first time voters could register on Election Day, and more than 30,000 people took advantage of that option.
"I have the sense where Election Day was a day where people felt good about coming out to vote," said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, "and they were determined to be there."
The town with the highest turnout, according to unofficial numbers from Merrill's office, was Burlington, at 92.33 percent. Other towns with more than 90 percent turnout included Pomfret and Cornwall.
The same Greater Waterbury and Naugatuck Valley towns that came out strong for Trump in the primary supported him again against Hillary Clinton. He won 68 percent of the vote in Wolcott, 66 percent in Prospect and 65 percent in Plymouth and Watertown. Trump beat Clinton 55-40 percent in Naugatuck and 60-34 percent in Beacon Falls.
Richard Foley, a former Republican state chairman who grew up in Naugatuck, said the hardscrabble cities and towns of the region, which used to be hotbeds for the manufacturing of brass and rubber, are similar in many ways to the Rust Belt states that propelled Trump to victory nationally. Trump has promised to return manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas.
"Every day, voters in the Naugatuck Valley ... drive past these abandoned hulks of buildings," he said. "Most of them are in downtowns. And they see the effect of NAFTA and bad trade agreements every single day."
Two Democratic incumbents in the Valley, Rep. Theresa Conroy and Sen. Joseph Crisco, lost their seats to Republican challengers Tuesday night in the very same areas where Trump won big.
CT Towns With The Most College Degrees Picked Clinton back to top
Many of the towns that Clinton flipped were among the most-educated places in the state. Trump didn't win a single town ranked in the top-10 in terms of percentage of population with a college degree, according to census data.
The correlation is part of a national trend in which Trump fared much better among less educated voters. Among the bottom 20 Connecticut cities and towns in terms of percentage of residents who are college educated, Trump won 10, while Romney won just two.
In Darien, where 79.7 percent of the town has a college degree, Romney won with 65 percent of the vote four years ago. This time around, Clinton won with 53 percent.
And in Voluntown, which ranks No. 161 of the 169 cities and towns in Connecticut with 18.4 percent of the population with a college degree, Trump picked up 62 percent of the vote. Obama won in that town in 2012 by 1 percentage point.
In another region where he saw broad support in the late-April primary, Eastern Connecticut, Trump flipped a number of towns that voted for Obama in 2012 into his column. Those include places like Plainfield, Voluntown, Griswold, Lisbon and Sprague.
Romney "didn't awaken in people the excitement of change that they saw with Trump," said Ed Munster, chairman of Grassroots East, a group dedicated to electing Republicans in the 2nd Congressional District.
The small, rural towns that Trump won in the general election include many of the places where U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. The two candidates disagreed on virtually everything but their views aligned in terms of railing against trade deals.
Like the Naugatuck Valley, Eastern Connecticut was once a major manufacturing hub, particularly for textiles.
In total, Trump won about 40 towns that Obama carried in 2012.
Voters in wealthy Fairfield County towns that traditionally vote Republican shifted massively from the last presidential election. In New Canaan in 2012, Romney beat Obama with 64 percent of the vote. This time around, Clinton won New Canaan with 53 percent of the vote, a 16-point swing.
"Some very Republican places I don't ever win rejected Trump," said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, who was re-elected to a fourth term. His opponent, state Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding, ran almost 15 points better than Trump in New Canaan, for example.
In total, there were six Fairfield County towns that Romney won four years ago that Clinton won this time around: New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Ridgefield, Wilton and Easton.
Other Romney towns that Clinton won include Avon, Granby and East Granby.