Analyzing Connecticut’s Democratic primary results

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It took a few days but the final results of Tuesday’s primary have been tallied by the Office of the Secretary of the State.

That means we can start looking into what the results show, including the Republican results.

Hillary Clinton garnered more primary votes than Bernie Sanders, but he won in 116 towns, outnumbering Clinton’s 53.

Let’s split up the towns by type (urban, rural, and mixed) and see how each group of towns tended to voted.


Sanders had more support in rural areas and the suburbs.

However, Clinton edged out Sanders with support in more populous areas and urban cities.


That made the biggest difference in the outcome.

Before we go on, let’s take a moment to put the primaries in perspective.

The number of residents who participated in Connecticut’s presidential primary was tiny compared to the state’s population.

As of Friday afternoon, it appears that about 15 percent of state residents helped choose who will face off during the general election in November.

Specific to the 2.6 million in the state who are allowed to vote (excluding those under 18, felons, and others) then about 21 percent of the eligible voters participated in Connecticut’s primaries.

Officials are still tallying the results but 2016 might be one of the highest turnouts for primaries in recent history.

Looking at the margins

Clinton beat Sanders by just two votes in Killingworth and Newington. Sanders was just three votes behind in Sharon.

Towns with the closest margins
Town Clinton Sanders Difference
Westbrook 293 298 -5
Killingworth 356 357 -1
Newington 1631 1632 -1
Sharon 187 184 3
Office of the Secretary of the State

Bloomfield, Westport, and Weston gave Clinton her biggest winning margins – with ratios of about 3 to 1.

Where Clinton had the most support
Town Clinton Sanders Difference
Darien 69.2 % 30.2 % 39
Hartford 69.4 % 29.5 % 39.9
Weston 69.8 % 29.6 % 40.2
Westport 70.3 % 28.7 % 41.6
Bloomfield 74.6 % 24.9 % 49.7
Office of the Secretary of the State

Sanders did well in Voluntown, Sterling and Canaan, where he ran up margins of about 40 percentage points.

Where Sanders won by the widest margins
Town Clinton Sanders Difference
Voluntown 25.2 % 68.8 % -43.6
Sterling 28.9 % 68.9 % -40
Canaan 29.7 % 69.2 % -39.5
Union 30.1 % 67.5 % -37.4
Hartland 30.7 % 68.1 % -37.4
Office of the Secretary of the State
2008 versus 2016

The majority of towns that voted for Clinton this week voted for Barack Obama eight years ago. Bloomfield and Hartford were among the biggest changes. Bloomfield jumped from 27 percent for Clinton in 2008 to 75 percent in 2016.

In Hartford, nearly 70 percent of the city voted for Clinton — double the percentage that supported her 2008.


In 2016, Clinton picked up 37 of the 89 towns that Obama won in 2008.

Sanders won the majority with 52.


In 2008, Clinton beat Obama in 79 towns. But eight years later she lost 63 of those towns.

In 2016, she only won 16 of the towns while Sanders walked away with 63.

But that didn’t make enough of a difference because Clinton still won the towns with larger populations.

Check our work: The GitHub repository containing our work is available here. We encourage you to look over our calculations and expand upon our analysis.

What do you think?

  • David A. Stevenson

    After adding in the pledged delegates in Washington State which haven’t been allotted (the number now shown is 25-9 for Sanders, when the 101 pledged delegates are actually 73-28) the total pledged delegates are 1,663 for Clinton and1,367 for Sanders.
    With 45% of the pledged delegates – and the remaining delegates likely to be 50%-50% at most, Sanders supporters will have a lot of leverage in helping to write the Democratic Party platform in Philadelphia. That is the most effective way for the party to earn the support of the Democratic-leaning independents who have given Bernie Sanders strong showings in open primaries. If these voters’ trust is earned, turnout will be strong in November and the party will do well up and down the ballot. If the Connecticut Gold Coast Wall Street people whose votes provided Clinton with her Connecticut primary victory write the platform, that will be a much more difficult task.
    I suspect that someone will play up the “primary vote margin” for Clinton in an attempt to marginalize the caucuses which have been strong for Sanders – but consider the super delegate votes – where each vote carried as much weight as thousands of primary votes.

  • Amanda Kennedy

    Because of the way delegates are allotted in Connecticut, I don’t see how it’s helpful to present the results as simple wins/losses. It would be much more important to show the map as as a transtion from 100% Sanders to 100% Clinton. And it would be helpful to illustrate the geographies by which delegates are allocated.

    • Andrew Ba Tran

      Yup, we plan to look at delegates and congressional district results. Just waiting for more-concrete figures.

  • Ryan Doyle

    I looked at the map the day after and I was surprised to see the clear statewide pattern. I’m assuming this pattern has existed across the country. Simply put, Hillary won by getting the rich and the poor to vote for her. Bernie got the middle class and working class. I’m not shocked the richer suburbs went with Hillary–many of them probably have stocks and other investments and probably prefer a Wall Street friendly Democrat. It’s disappointing to me as a Bernie supporter that poor people overwhelmingly supporter her, though. Hillary is a better sweet talker and Bernie is a bit of a prophet of doom, but I have no doubt that Bernie’s policies would have benefitted the poor more if he had been elected President.

    • Brian Sullivan

      I live in Enfield where Bernie won by a double digit margin. For CT/MA both states saw the same trend in the exit polls with under/over 100k voters:
      CT split 56%/44% (under 100k/ over 100K)
      MA split 63%/37% (under 100k/over 100k)
      In both states (with similar demos – Under 100k voters Bernie won by 10% /Over 100K voters Bernie lost by 20%

  • Dross1958

    Sanders vs Clinton by Town Median Income?