Being the first female major nominee for president, it's natural that Hillary Clinton would have hoped to ride to victory on the votes of female voters across the country. In the end, though, about 54 percent of women voted for Clinton, according to both CNN's and USA Today's exit polls. While it was enough to snag the popular vote away from President-Elect Donald Trump, Clinton fell short in the electoral vote, and strong support from some groups of women was not enough to help her claim the presidency.
According CNN's exit polls, women made up about 52 percent of the electorate, a number that could have easily given Clinton a victory if she had not lost support among certain female demographic groups. In total, Clinton received around 61,781,982 votes. As voting demographics continue to be analyzed, we'll learn exactly how many of those nearly 62 million voters were women.
Groups of women who went for Trump included conservative women, 78 percent of whom voted for Clinton's opponent; white women aged 45 to 64 at 58 percent, white Protestant women at 64 percent, and white women overall at 53 percent. While some of those aren't so surprising — conservative women and white Protestant women, for example — others must have come as a shock. In early October, it seemed almost unimaginable that the man who bragged about being able to "grab [women] by the pussy" would get any women to vote for him, but this has been nothing if not a year of electoral surprises.
With the exception of a number of moments when the feminist flame finally seemed to ignite, Clinton didn't capture the imagination of women across the board. Something stirred after Trump's "nasty woman" comment at the third debate, but it didn't survive the firestorm of FBI Director James Comey's announcement about the new batch of Clinton's emails. This is perhaps the great magic trick that the Trump campaign and the Republican establishment had up their sleeves: in a race against Trump and Clinton and their respective personal and professional histories, they managed to make Clinton's emails a bigger deal than Trump's alleged history of sexual assault. He has denied those allegations.
While as of right now it's impossible to pin down what exactly swayed voters, it's been clear throughout the campaign that Clinton did not get the feminist boost that one would have expected — at least not across the board. Now, the numbers provide hard data about how many more women would have needed to vote for her in order to avoid a Trump presidency. The women who voted to finally put a woman in the White House now only hope that those supporting Trump were right in believing that he wouldn't take his sexist attitudes into his new job.