In 2016, Donald Trump performed best among white voters without college degrees, a shrinking demographic. But he shockingly won white voters with college degrees as well.
Wpost: “Trump, according to exit poll data, earned the votes of 60 percent of white men and 52 percent of white women…The exit polls indicated that he had won 88 percent of Republican votes and 78 percent of ballots cast by white evangelicals.”
Clinton’s strength seemed limited to the most narrow definition of the Democratic Party — nonwhites and college-educated whites. Even though college graduates made up fully half the electorate, and Clinton did even better among that group than President Obama did four years ago, Trump’s margin among people with little or no college was a massive 39 points, a big boost over Romney’s 25-point margin four years ago.
UK Independent: “Exit poll data found that 52 per cent of white women voted for Mr Trump, compared with 63 per cent of white men.”
The gender gap for Ms Clinton – the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her – hit 13 percentage points, but Ms Clinton’s support support among women was roughly even with the support that women gave Mr Obama in 2008 and 2012.
As expected, male voters supported Mr Trump, with 12 per cent more supporting the Republican candidate over his rival.
In 1996, the Washington Post reports, “Bill Clinton narrowly won white voters without college degrees, 44 percent to 43 percent for Republican nominee Robert Dole, but by 2012, President Obama received just 36 percent of those white non-college voters, according to presidential exit polls.”
Guardian: “…52% of voters earning less than $50,000 a year – who make up 36% of the electorate – voted for Clinton, and 41% for Trump. But among the 64% of American voters who earn more than $50,000 a year, 49% chose Trump, and 47% Clinton.”
New Republic: Blame Trump’s Victory on College-educated Whites. “The average Trump voter is not poorly educated or unemployed, nor does he live in a rural area. Back in May, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver punctured the myth of the “working class” being Trump’s voter base: In exit polls of 23 states from the primaries, all showed a higher median income for Trump supporters than the national average, usually around $70,000. Exit polls last week, while not definitive,reveal that both college-educated white men and college educated white women voted for Trump by much higher than expected margins.”
The voters Clinton really lost—the ones she was targeting and relying on for victory—were college-educated whites. Most polling suggested she would win these voters, but she didn’t, according to exit polls: White men went 63 percent for Trump versus 31 percent for Clinton, and white women went 53-43 percent. Among college-educated whites, only 39 percent of men and 51 percent of women voted for Clinton.
Clinton’s strategy made sense. Trump’s negatives among this group, which normally leans Republican (Romney won them by six points), were pretty high in polling. What’s more, these people hadn’t suffered under Obama; they’d thrived.