While President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory was largely due to support from white non-college educated voters, a recent Gallup study found that Republicans have had the advantage with this group for fifteen of the last twenty years. Democrats only led Republicans with white non-college educated voters in 1999, when Republicans overstepped in efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton, and from 2006-2009, during the Great Recession. President Trump capitalized on the Republican advantage with these voters, who now choose the GOP over Democrats by a whopping 25-point margin.
While Republicans have grown their advantage with white non-college educated voters since 2016, the GOP’s support among white college graduates has fallen. Republicans and Democrats were tied in 2016, with both parties getting 47% in this group. But in 2017, support for Republicans fell to 45%, and today it stands at 41% compared to 54% support for Democrats.
Republicans will continue targeting white non-college educated voters, but they must pay attention to their eroding position among white college graduates. Many of these voters live in suburban areas in swing 2020 states and targeted congressional districts. They will not only help decide the outcome of the presidential contest, but many key down-ballot races as well.