Search icon


09th Nov 2016

A breakdown of how exactly Donald Trump won the presidential election

It’s 2016 and Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the USA.

The election results came in the early hours of Wednesday 9 November Irish time and, contrary to what the majority of polls suggested in the final days, Donald Trump emerged victorious in the race.

Trump claimed his place as the 45th President of the United States of America in an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice.

His victory brings to an end eight years of Democratic dominance in the White House and, with the policies of Barack Obama on chopping board, it looks likely that there’ll be a dramatic shift with the healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, firmly in the sights of the Republican party.

This was never supposed to happen. Very few believed that it would happen.

Happen it did though and you better get used to hearing the words, “President Trump”, over the next four years as his policies take shape.

But how exactly did Trump win the election?

He did it by securing the most votes in what are referred to as “swing states” in the election, ones that are on a knife-edge down Republican and Democratic lines.

If you’re unsure about how the voting system involving the Electoral College works, this article may be helpful, but essentially, the bigger the population of a state, the more their state vote is worth.

As the night began, it was perceived that Trump had a limited path to the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to secure the presidency. He needed the results to fall perfectly to win the votes he required, and they damn near did.


The reason Donald Trump won the Presidential Election is because he managed to secure victory in the key battleground states of Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The string of victories shattered the famed blue wall states that Hillary had supposedly constructed to keep the Democrat’s grip on the White House.

Florida carries 29 electoral votes and the state has accurately predicted the winner in every Presidential Election, bar one, since 1964.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 11.21.51

Via New York Times

The state is hugely significant in terms of gathering the 270 Electoral College votes required to be elected president, and Trump managed to claim a victory here, despite exit polls predicting a two point win for Hillary Clinton.

North Carolina

As the voting unfolded and it became apparent that Florida was looking increasingly like siding with Donald Trump, the voting in North Carolina became crucial to the result of the election.

The candidates were tied in polls going into the election in this state, but back in 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won the state by two points.

Trump doubled that lead and won by four points, securing the 15 electoral votes that came with it.


Pennsylvania is a competitive state, but most analysts agree that it leans Democratic, so for Trump to win this state was a huge coup for him.

Clinton was favoured to win the state with Barack Obama winning there by 5.4% back in 2012.

However, Trump won the 20 electoral votes on offer by securing 48.8% of the votes in the state compared to Clinton’s 47.7%.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 11.28.03

Via New York Times


Ohio is another competitive state which the Democrats won back in 2012 by three points.

Trump had a slight advantage in the polls in the days leading up to the election, but won a whopping 52.1% of the vote compared to Clinton’s 43.5%.

Ohio had 18 electoral votes on offer.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 11.23.36

Via New York Times


Trump had been expected to perform well in Iowa with the state swinging red this year compared to other traditional battleground states.

Neither candidate did particularly well there during the primaries with heavy pressure from Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 11.21.26

Via New York Times

Although Iowa is a traditionally Democrat state, Trump won 51.7% of the vote, polling extremely well with non-college-educated whites, and secured the six electoral votes available.

Overall, it’s looking likely that Trump will have lost the popular vote but due to the system in place and the states he won during the election, he will be the next President of the USA.

Video via WJBK | FOX 2 News Detroit

This article was written by ALAN LOUGHNANE for