Exit poll: Unhappy, angry voters send Trump to the White House

Voters line up at the Allouez municipal center.   Nov. 8, 2016 (WBAY)
Voters line up at the Allouez municipal center. Nov. 8, 2016 (WBAY)

Wisconsin voters don’t like or trust Democrat Hillary Clinton. They don’t like or trust Republican Donald Trump, either. In fact, overall 51% of Wisconsin voters think Clinton is qualified to be president and 51% say she has the temperament to be effective as president, while 63% say Trump isn’t qualified and 58% say he doesn’t have the right temperament.

But Trump took Wisconsin, and with it he took the White House.

On behalf of news media, including WBAY-TV and national networks, Edison Research polled 3,047 voters in the Badger State. Interviews were conducted in-person at voting places on election day and over the phone with early voters who cast absentee ballots.

And voters in the Badger State don’t like what they see.

A total 74% percent of state voters in the exit poll said they’re dissatisfied or angry with the way the federal government is working, and 61% of those voted for Trump. Only 25% — the majority Clinton supporters — considered themselves satisfied or enthusiastic.

Thirty-four percent strongly disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, and 95% of that group voted for Trump. Almost the same percentage (33%) strongly approve of President Obama’s work, but only 6% of them voted for Trump.

Most voters (61%) said the nation’s economy is “not so good” or “poor.” Thirty-eight percent said it’s “good” or “excellent.” Forty-two percent of voters believe the next generation of Americans will be worse off than Americans today.

Overall, 54% of voters believe Trump will do a better job handling the economy than Clinton would.

And the economy is important. Out of four choices, 54% said the economy was the most important issue facing the country — but only 43% of them were Trump supporters. Far lower on their list of priorities were terrorism (19%), immigration (12%) and foreign policy (11%), but the great majority of people saying terrorism and immigration were the most important issues were Trump supporters.

Half of voters questioned believe trade with other countries takes away U.S. jobs, and 63% of those voted for Trump.

A minority polled (37%) say immigrants hurt the country, compared to 55% who say they help. Of those who say they hurt the country, 77% voted for Trump.

Only 29% of voters say illegal immigrants should be deported to the country they came from, while 69% said they should have a chance to apply for legal status. Of those who want immigrants deported, 78% voted for Trump.

A plurality of voters (49%) said President Obama’s health care reform went too far, 81% of them supported Trump. Most Clinton supporters felt it was about right or didn’t go far enough.

The bottom line: Voters were ready for a change.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said a candidate’s ability to bring needed change mattered to them most of all, more than the candidate having the right experience (19%), good judgment (18%), or caring about people like them (15%). And 84% of those voters who said bringing change was most important voted for Donald Trump.

Three-fourths of voters said they decided more than a month ago who they would vote for. Trump and Clinton voters were pretty evenly split in that group. For the 14% of voters who decided in just the last week, 58% decided for Trump.

Click here for more findings from the Wisconsin exit polls and the people who voted