The 2016 presidential election may have favored Donald Trump because of widespread fears about health and rising mortality rates, especially in rural areas of the United States, according to a new study.
"Although life expectancy is increasing in many parts of the country, especially in urban areas, we are not seeing the same gains in the rural and central areas of the United States," said lead author Dr. Lee Goldman. .
The study is based on an analysis of health and mortality data in each of the country's 3,112 counties, as well as the presidential voting data for 2008 and 2018.
The researchers found that counties that had a greater Republican share in 2016 compared to 2008 also had a 15 percent higher death rate in 2015 than counties that saw a net increase in Democratic voters, according to a new study published today. in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Republican President-elect Donald Trump (left) greets the crowd during his acceptance speech at his evening event of the 2016 New York Hilton elections. Hillary Clinton (right) speaks during a press conference at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel the day after losing the 2016 election
"We should not underestimate the extent to which some parts of the country have lagged behind in terms of their health, and it's not surprising that health disparities correspond to electoral behavior," Goldman said.
The experts at Irving Medical Center at Columbia University said they believe this finding demonstrates a correlation between death rates and the final motivation to get to the polls for the 2018 elections.
"It is commonly argued that President Trump won by receiving more votes from people who have lagged behind economically, especially older, less educated and less urban white voters," said the study's lead author, Dr. Lee Goldman.
"Based on our data, we can also say that changes in life expectancy were an independent factor in voting choices," he added. "The reduced health prospects are an important marker of dissatisfaction, discouragement, hopelessness and fear, feelings that may have resonated with voters who sided with President Trump."
Goldman said the correlation "does not imply causality," but said states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin may have been more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton if they had higher life expectancies.
"If the health disparities were important enough to influence the presidential vote, they can have an even broader impact on the future of our country than we had imagined," said Dr. Goldman. "It also highlights how much work remains to reduce health disparities."