November 16, 2016    4 minute read

The US Election Vs. Brexit: Can Parallels Be Drawn?

Age Is Not Just A Number    November 16, 2016    4 minute read

The US Election Vs. Brexit: Can Parallels Be Drawn?

With the outcomes of the US Election and Britain’s EU referendum being the major political headlines in a whirlwind of stories throughout 2016, the inconceivable results, with Donald Trump the US President-Elect and Britain voting to leave the EU, have shaken the foundations of both countries.

Why Were The Outcomes So Controversial?

The general UK perception on Brexit seems to be negative due to the subsequent political consequences and economic instability – with some non-voters stating they would now vote to remain, alongside some Leave voters suggesting they would, in fact, change their vote if they had another chance, after becoming exposed to the shocks which followed (for instance the plummet of the pound).

Similarly, the US election result has led to social unrest, exhibited through movements such as protests and marches. Although Hillary Clinton actually obtained a higher popular vote by a slight margin of 0.6 million people, Trump won in terms of electoral college votes – the vote that counts.

With the Republican candidate arguably being one of, if not, the most controversial character in modern society, many were surprised at his triumph considering the democrat was the outright favourite. Parallels may be drawn here as the overall view that Britain would vote to remain in the EU also resulted in shock across the nation.

Key Statistics

Since both outcomes went in contradiction to the general public opinion, some would ask: what were the key statistics helping to fragment the arguments as to why this may have occurred?

Just as the EU referendum’s outcome was perceived in terms of which age groups voted for which of the two options of Remain and Leave, the US Election result seems to be viewed in a likely sort, this time considering the inclusive aspect of race/ethnicity.

(Extract from The Economist: How Donald Trump won the election)

(Source: The Economist)

It is quite apparent that, in terms of race, the majority of Caucasians tended to vote in favour of Trump whereas Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans veered towards Hillary Clinton. This could suggest a racial divide still exists in a country which was thought to be well on its way to eradicating this problem in the Obama administration.

During his campaign, Trump directly insulted those of the ethnic minorities, for instance, the Hispanic and Islamic communities through his persistence of pushing the idea of building a wall with Mexico and his divisive opinions on terrorism respectively. This is possibly the reason for the low number of votes from these demographics and countless others who took offence.

The Difference In Age Groups

When one identifies the age groups with respect to the voting statistics, one immediately notices the fact that the youngest group consisting of people aged 18-29 voted for Hillary Clinton whereby this diminished as the groups rose in age, thus leading to over 45s tending to vote for Trump.

This is parallel to the votes cast in Britain’s EU referendum in the sense that as the age groups rose, voters veered towards leaving the EU (Aged 50+) – the result which prevailed.

Voting Trends of Age Groups in the EU Referendum

(Voting Trends By Age Groups In The EU Referendum; Source: YouGov)

On the contrary, where parallels cannot be drawn is where one evaluates the average number of years each country’s citizens have to live with the decision. Since the Brexit vote is a longer-term decision in comparison to the US Election result, 18-24-year-old citizens have to stick with the result for an average of 69 years. However, the main difference is that all age groups in the US only have to live with the decision for a maximum of eight years (if Trump is re-elected).

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