Joel Barfoot, a retired probation officer living near Montgomery, Alabama, is one of the Trump supporters confident about better times ahead. “The last five years working in the state of Alabama, I was taking home less pay … than the five years previous because of the cost of insurance and no raises or anything,” he said. “I see where Mr. Trump is talking about maybe putting a trillion dollars into the infrastructure to create jobs that way, but I also think there will be more and more American companies that probably come back … they won’t be outsourcing [anymore].”
Diana McKeen, a retired nurse in Belmont, Maine, also thinks Trump will reverse years of decline in her area. “Where I live, almost everything has gone—the shoe factories and shipping factories, all those things when I was in high school, all those things were shipped overseas,” she said. “Now we have Bank of America, things like that. But for the average person here, there really isn't anything stable." McKeen doesn’t think Trump will restore the same jobs, but thinks his promise to combat outsourcing will make a difference. “He’s saying things aren’t going to go overseas,” she said, “and so a lot of the products might be made more here in America so more jobs will come this way. “
Still, most Clinton voters were dubious that Trump could improve either the nation’s overall competitiveness or their own opportunities. DiLullo was one. Now staying at home with a child, she has a master’s degree in public administration and has lived in southern Ohio, where she “saw some of the worst poverty you can imagine.” She’s dubious that Trump can reverse that extended decline. “Donald Trump can promise all day long that he’s going to bring all these jobs back to America, but those coal mining jobs and the economies that it created … are never coming back,” she said. “I don't think there's any proof or any validity to the promises Donald Trump is making to bringing [those types of] jobs back to areas like that.”
On another major campaign emphasis for Trump, a somewhat more equivocal 48 percent said they expected as a result of his election the U.S. would be more safe from terrorism; 36 percent said it would become less safe, with the rest expecting no change or saying they didn’t know.
But the picture was very different on questions about how Americans expected Trump to affect the nation’s social and partisan divisions.
By nearly two-to-one, adults expected his election would make the political system more, not less, divided. Clinton supporters (at 86 percent) overwhelmingly expected more division, but so did a substantial minority (35 percent) of Trump voters. Just over seven-in-10 Millennials and minorities, and just under two-thirds of college-educated white women, expected greater partisan division.
Eric Nelson, an auto repair technician in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, who backed Trump, predicted that the president-elect’s conflicts with so many other Republicans during the campaign might actually prove liberating for him. "I believe because he didn't really have the support of his own party, I think that he's almost more like having an independent, and I would hope that maybe when issues are brought forward rather than fight it … one party against another, it might be looked at more [as] the issue rather than … which party is pressing it, you know,” Nelson said. “He might listen more to the content rather than who's delivering it after it's all said and done.”