A look at the numbers: Comparing Election Day 2016 to 2012 in our region


ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – As expected, our section of Virginia voted overwhelming for Donald Trump on Tuesday night, just as it did for Mitt Romney four years earlier.

WSLS 10 broke down Tuesday night’s results for 36 area counties and cities to see what’s changed since 2012.

The region voted at a higher percentage for Donald Trump than it did for Mitt Romney. In 2016, 63.89 percent of the vote went to Trump, while Romney only received 58.54 percent.*

Overall, fewer people voted in the region on Tuesday, 6,256 fewer according to unofficial results.*

Breaking it down on the county level, from 2012 to 2016, the voter turnout percentage dropped the most in Lynchburg, Lexington and Buena Vista, with Lynchburg seeing a nearly 12 percent decrease in the percentage of those who voted compared to the active voter count.*

On the flip side, Bland, Patrick and Grayson counties had the largest increases, with Bland County having nearly a 6 percent increase in the percentage of those who voted compared to the active voter count.*

Stay with me here for this next part as it gets a bit complicated, but is very telling.

It starts with the number of votes each county and city cast for a particular candidate in 2012. Then multiplying that vote count by the percentage change in active voter count from 2012 to 2016. For example, in 2012 in Roanoke County, 18,711 people voted for Barack Obama. In 2012, the active voter count for the county was 63,272. In 2016, the active voter count increased to 64,260. So in this case, we’d multiply 18,711 by (64,260/63,272), which equals 19,003.

It’s that number that represents how each county would have voted had nothing changed except for the active voter count.

The next step is to take that number and subtract it from the results in Tuesday’s election, and the difference represents how the votes changed from 2012 to 2016 when taking into account the fact that the number of active voters changed in each county and city.

So for our Roanoke County example, on Tuesday, Clinton received 16,787 votes in Roanoke County and 16,787-19,003 = -2,216.

This shows that the voting in Roanoke County shifted more Republican than it was four years ago.

The top 5 counties/cities where Clinton lost the most votes were:

  1. Roanoke City: -3,521
  2. Bedford County: -2,458
  3. Lynchburg City: -2,388
  4. Roanoke County: -2,216
  5. Franklin County: -1,971

In this analysis, in none of the 36 counties and cities did Clinton gain any votes; however, that was not the case for Donald Trump.

The top 5 counties/cities where Trump gained the most votes were:

  1. Bedford County: 4,558
  2. Pittsylvania County: 2,264
  3. Carroll County: 1,723
  4. Wythe County: 1,655
  5. Franklin County: 1,594

Click here to view the 2012 and 2016 results.

*The data used in this analysis is from the Virginia State Board of Election’s unofficial results and only includes ballots cast in-person for 2016, not those submitted via absentee or any other way.


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