Democrats drew support from various sources to make 2018 gains - report

The Democrat Party widened a two point lead in 2016 to a nine point lead in 2018 by picking up voters from a range of demographics, Pew Research has found.

(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Democrat Party made gains in the 2018 mid-term elections from a variety of sources, but overall party loyalty remained steadfast, a new poll by Pew Research has found.
Hillary Clinton gained a two point advantage over now-President Donald Trump in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, but two years later the gap widened to give Democrats a nine point lead over the Republican Party in votes cast for the US House of Representatives. Pew Research has taken a deep dive on where these extra votes came from, finding that around half of the gain was made from a combination of party loyalty, defection and turnout differences, while the other half came from non-voters in the 2016 backing the Democrats heavily in 2018.
Mid-term elections are not necessarily a predictor of the following Presidential election, Pew warns, however, the results suggest that, broadly speaking, Trump voters were backing the candidate rather than the Republican Party, whereas Clinton voters were voting more out of loyalty to the Democratic Party than for the candidate.
Voter turnout is generally higher in presidential than mid-term elections, and the 2016/18 cycle was no different - turnout was 59% in the presidential election, dropping back to 49% in 2018, although that figure was higher than normal for a mid-term indicating that halfway through President Trump's first term, both parties' bases were fired up.
More of Clinton's voters in 2016 returned to the polls in 2018 than Trump's, (78% to 74%), and marginally more Clinton voters remained loyal to the Democrats than Trump supporters were loyal to the Republicans - 96% of Clinton voters backed her party in 2018, whereas 93% of Trump supporters turned out for the Republicans.
In addition, of those who voted for someone other than the two leading candidates in 2016, 71% returned to the polls in 2018, and the majority of these broke toward the Democrats, who picked up 49% of that vote against the Republicans 37%. The remaining 14% again voted for neither main party. However, this group made up just 5% of all 2018 voters. Democratic candidates made gains among Republicans and leaners who describe themselves as moderate or liberal (from 8% for Clinton to 15% for Democratic House candidates).
Around 11% of voters in 2018 were people who did not vote at all in 2016, and in picking up these, Democratic candidates won out over Republican candidates by a margin of more than two-to-one (68% Democrat to 29% Republican), accounting for about half of the Democrat gains.
Of all those eligible to vote in 2018, 44% voted in both the 2016 and 2018 elections, 36% voted in neither. 14% were dubbed drop-off voters - those who voted in 2016 but not in 2018, while a further 6% cast a ballot in 2018 but not 2016.
Overall, the voting patterns in 2018 broadly matched those in 2016 in terms of voter demographics. However, Democratic candidates made some gains on Clinton's support, mainly among men, young people, and secular voters.
The results were based on analysis of interviews with 10,640 members of Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel, with the interviews conducted between November 7-16 2018, just after the election. It also draws on interviews with 3,770 panelists conducted between November 29 and December 12, 2016, and interviews conducted between August 20 and October 28, 2018 among all members of the panel at that time. Researchers attempted to match the panelists to commercial voter files in order to get an accurate a picture of voting patterns as possible, given that there is a tendency among some people to over-report voting.