NRL News

The critical importance of the Supreme Court to Donald Trump’s victory

by | Nov 15, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Hats off to’s “Allahpundit” for a fascinating analysis posted late last night. It is an endlessly intriguing look at data points in the exit polls that I had missed entirely.

How many times did NRL News Today write about how the next President would nominee as many as three justices to the Supreme Court? And the critical importance of voting for pro-life Donald Trump for this reason?

It turns out that one of the exit poll question asked how important the Supreme Court was in people’s vote. The graph below is startlingly revealing.


56% of those who voted for Trump said it was the most important factor, compared to 41% for Hillary Clinton. Allahpundit notes, of course, we can’t know how many of those people would have voted for their respective candidates anyway.

But you could say that about any issue. So it is important that we not dismiss a 15 point differential on the issue of the Supreme Court. That is huge.

And, as Allahpundit immediately adds, that advantage could well have been critical in Midwestern states where Trump won very narrowly. (See below for more on that.)

Clearly, pro-life people listened to pro-life organizations such as National Right to Life and zeroed in on the High Court. And, as I have argued over and over, the significance of Donald Trump’s opposition to late term abortion, expressed in the third debate, cannot be overstated.

When he outlined in vivid detail what Hillary Clinton supports, you could almost sense a collective gasp among all those many, many tens of millions of Americans who know very little about the hideous reality of abortion.

As we have observed more than once, there were pro-lifers who had their doubts about Donald Trump. But reassured by what we wrote and (far more importantly) by what the now President-elect said, they “came home.”

But that was also true for Republicans.

How many times were we told that unless almost all Republicans voted for Trump he couldn’t win? That was true. What wasn’t true were all the stories that flatly stated that could not possibly happen.

In fact 90% of self-identified Republicans said they voted for Trump, compared to 89% of self-identified Democrats who voted for Clinton. But less than two weeks before, a poll found that not even a majority of Republicans thought the party would come together!

What happened?

In all three of the Rust Belt trifecta states, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, Trump’s support among Republicans was slightly better than Clinton’s was with Democrats. In Pennsylvania the GOP split for him 89/9 (+80) versus Democrats splitting 87/11 for Clinton (+76).

In Michigan Republicans broke 90/7 for Trump (+83) compared to Democrats breaking 88/9 for Hillary (+79). And in Wisconsin, which was supposed to be Clinton’s strongest state, they were dead even at +84 in net party support with Republicans dividing 90/6 for Trump and Democrats dividing 91/7 for Clinton. Any degree of underperformance with his own base might have cost him the election, but in the end they were rock solid.

Alas, the state exit polls didn’t ask specifically about the Supreme Court, but given how tight those three races were and how remarkable Trump’s support was among what was supposed to be a divided Republican Party, is it likely that the Scalia vacancy made the difference? I think it’s surely possible.