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The Middle-Class Metros That Put Trump in the White House

From Youngstown, Ohio, to Wausau, Wisconsin, it was the towns with big shares of middle-income households that flipped their political allegiances in 2016.
Trump supporters in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, one of the metros that the GOP took from the Democrats in 2016.
Trump supporters in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, one of the metros that the GOP took from the Democrats in 2016. Andrew Harnik/AP

Buffalo, New York. Erie, Pennsylvania. Youngstown, Ohio. These and many other majority middle-class counties voted for Barack Obama in 2008, paving his path to the White House. In 2016, a majority of them flipped for Donald Trump.

That was among the crucial reasons the GOP prevailed in this election, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. In it, researchers looked at the past voting patterns of metro areas where at least 55 percent of the population lived in middle-income households in 2014. (A household of three members was middle-income in 2014, if it brought in between $42,000 to $125,000 a year. The share of Americans that live in such households nationwide is 51 percent.)