There’s no doubt the U.S. stands divided on its opinions about President Donald Trump. And interestingly enough, there’s plenty of research that shows personality and health commonalities amongst Trump supporters. Everything in their lives, from their location to their beliefs, can affect their health.
You can find Trump fans in just about any state you visit, but you’re more likely to find them in a few key areas. This may possibly contribute to their shared health characteristic.
Where in the U.S. are Trump supporters?
The Atlantic notes most of his fans are just east of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, through the Appalachian Mountains and down to the Gulf Coast. Of course, there are exceptions, as even liberal states have moderate or conservative counties that voted in his favor. And it’s mostly the small cities and rural communities who helped him win over Hillary.
It’s also interesting to take a look at the age, gender, and average income of those who voted for Trump. Business Insider shows those who were above the age of 65, male, and had an annual income between $50,000 and $100,000 made up the majority of his votes.
Why Trump’s message penetrated these communities more than others
So, why did these communities connect with Trump more than others? First off, he rallied in places where presidential candidates don’t often go, like Mobile, Alabama, or Beaumont, Texas, The Washington Post notes. And this wasn’t an accident — he purposely chose places that struggle from unemployment and want dramatic change in the government. He promised to bring back manufacturing jobs and keep immigrants who are “stealing” those jobs out.
In essence, Trump capitalized on the “voiceless” communities instead of established Republican strongholds.
Rural communities are more likely to face chronic diseases
Only 15% of the American population live in rural areas, but they tend to be sicker than urban dwellers. As the CDC reports, those in rural areas across the U.S. are more likely to die from the five leading causes of disease in the country. These include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and unintentional injuries. This is likely because they live less healthy lifestyles and have less access to health care.
Trump supporters share psychological traits, too
It’s not just their location they have in common — this study shows those who voted for Trump also share some psychological characteristics. The research shows they prefer high-status groups having authority over low-status groups. This makes them dominant and strong-willed when it comes to getting what they want.
Not every Trump supporter is prejudiced. But Trump’s pattern of pointing out minority groups does appeal to his followers. And strong supporters of our president also generally feel deprived of something they feel they’re entitled to.
The 1 unfortunate trait: Authoritarian personality syndrome
According to a poll conducted by Matthew MacWilliams for Politico, authoritarianism is strongly associated with Trump supporters. Essentially, this mental health trait is characterized by strict obedience and rallying behind strong leaders. Authoritarians also may act aggressively toward those they deem as outsiders.
And they’re not all Republicans, either — in fact, many identify as independents or democrats. Fear is often a motivator, which Trump uses to his advantage when discussing the threat of foreigners, for example.
Trump supporters also largely fear terrorism
Since those with authoritarian personality syndrome often fear outsiders, this one makes sense. And the same Politico piece says the fear of terrorism is on the rise.
Here’s something else to consider: The more threats and terrorist attacks that non-authoritarians see, the more likely they are to start behaving like those with the personality syndrome. This means even those who didn’t start as Trump supporters may follow him later if they see more acts of terrorism.
Are supporters still happy with his presidency?
Unfortunately, changing someone’s mind with authoritarian personality disorder is neither quick nor easy. And according to The Guardian, most small-county folks who initially voted for Trump still support him. That doesn’t mean everyone’s happy, though. Others wish he would push legislation sooner to help the working class. In any case, it seems those with the authoritarian trait are more likely to vote his way come next election.