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The white college-educated women vs the white non-college educated men

The white college-educated women vs the white non-college educated men

by digby



The Wall Street Journal: The Yawning Divide That Explains American Politics
Two groups of voters—white women with college degrees and white men without—have moved drastically in opposite directions, the WSJ/NBC poll shows

To understand how American voters are being driven apart, look no further than two powerful demographic forces: gender and education.

Once, the political outlooks of white men without a college degree and white women with one were similar. In recent years, the groups, which represent about 40% of voters, have moved sharply apart. Analysis of the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows the division to be at its widest since the poll began measuring it in 1994.

The gap is something new in American politics, and it has fundamentally changed how campaigns are waged. Once, white voters as a whole were “persuadable’’—they might have leaned toward one party or the other, but no big bloc within the group was out of reach. Today, as the chart below shows, a campaign for Congress in many places starts with 60% of college-educated white women favoring the Democratic nominee. An even larger share of white men without degrees favor the Republican—making both essentially unreachable by the opposing candidate.

Among the women, the share who want Democrats to lead the next Congress is 33 percentage points larger than the share favoring GOP control. The men, by contrast, favor Republicans by a net 42 points.

Facing a polarized electorate, many candidates aren’t spending time trying to win over the resistant group. This often happens in midterm elections but is happening now to an extreme. The divergence helps explain the issues at the top of each party’s agenda, and why some districts that were held securely by one party have competitive races this year.

A gender gap has been a durable feature of American politics, most easily seen in presidential election results. Since 1980, American women have consistently backed Democratic candidates for president at higher rates than have men, while men have favored Republicans—a gender split not seen in the earliest national exit polls, conducted in the 1970s.

Now, educational attainment has supercharged that split among white voters, who account for more than 70% of the electorate. Those with bachelor’s degrees have shifted toward the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party has gained among voters who don’t have four-year college degrees.

The educational divide isn’t strong among nonwhite voters, who lean heavily toward the Democrats. In fact, minority voters with and without bachelor’s degrees have become more politically aligned in recent years.



These two divisions—gender and education—have radically changed the political orientation of white voters. The economy and cultural differences are two main causes. The recession hit people without college degrees hard, and many felt left out of the recovery that followed. As the chart below shows, the income of men with only a high-school diploma actually fell in the decade from 2008 to 2017.

Differences in cultural values and views of government widened during President Obama’s time in office, when he promised to build an activist government that would increase spending on education and social programs. Among white voter groups, women with college degrees were by far the most supportive of Mr. Obama’s governing philosophy, while men without degrees have grown more skeptical of it, especially in the past three years.

President Trump promised an “America first’’ government aimed largely at helping the “forgotten men and women’’ in blue-collar communities. Under his tenure, the two white groups have moved further apart. The men without bachelor’s degrees have grown warmer toward Mr. Trump since his inauguration, while the views of the women with degrees have grown more negative.
Net positive or negative view of President Trump since inaugurationSource: WSJ/NBC News telephone polls

The differences between the two groups are stark on many of the issues dominating the midterm campaign: immigration, gun control and health care. In each case, white men without college degrees support Mr. Trump’s policy stance, while white women with degrees are opposed.

Democratic candidates have campaigned heavily this year on calls to ban assault weapons and preserve the Affordable Care Act, aligning with the views of college-educated white women and reversing their reluctance to embrace those issues four years ago. Republican candidates have campaigned more extensively than in the past on measures to stop illegal immigration, a stance strongly adopted by white men without bachelor’s degrees.

The changes help explain why Democrats are nominating so many women for Congress, and why the fight for control of the House has shifted to districts with higher levels of education. One other big shift in the electorate further shows how the Republican appeal among college-educated voters is weakening: White men with bachelor’s degrees, once the most reliable Republican voters, now swing between parties and in the past year have consistently polled in favor of Democrats.
Women nominated for House seatsSource: Rutgers University Center for American Women and

In July 2006, about half of the most vulnerable GOP-held districts exceeded the national average for bachelor’s degrees. This year, about 70% of the GOP’s at-risk districts exceed the national average.


Virginia’s 7th District, outside Richmond, is an example of the splintering of the white electorate. The district has elected Republicans to the House since 1970. This year, analysts rate the race there a tossup.

In 2014 the Democratic nominee campaigned as a nonideological centrist. This year, Democratic nominee Abigail Spanberger is taking up issues that energize the Democratic base. She calls for an assault weapon ban, a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and for allowing all Americans to buy into a public health-insurance plan akin to Medicare.

The Republican candidate, two-term Rep. David Brat, is also trying to motivate his base. He wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, opposes “amnesty’’ for illegal immigrants and promises to fight restrictions on gun rights.

Polling shows that Mr. Brat is winning among white men without college degrees, while Ms. Spanberger leads among white college-educated women. Sample sizes aren’t big enough to put precise numbers on those leads, but they are large enough to say that college-educated white voters of both genders favor the Democrat by a net 10 percentage points, while whites without degrees favor the Republican by 30 points


I don't know if white college-educated women will come out to vote in greater numbers than white non-college educated men.
But the ones I know hate Donald Trump with the heat of a thousand suns and are very motivated to put a check on him in this election. If everyone else in the coalition is half as motivated, the Democrats will take the house.