Monday, March 7, 2016

Trump's Poorly Educated Voters May Be Key In Rust Belt

Wall Street Journal:

For now, Mr. Trump leads the GOP race in convention delegates and states won, largely built on a cadre of supporters—mostly white and without college degrees—who are angry about economic stagnation and are drawn to his aggressive immigration proposals, among other stances.
Some demographers and political analysts say Mr. Trump, if he wins the nomination, may boost voting rates among white, working-class residents in states where their turnout was low in 2008 and 2012. These include Pennsylvania and upper Midwest states such as Michigan, although a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday showed Mr. Trump trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in that state by 17 percentage points in a potential general-election matchup. The upper Midwest is diversifying more slowly than the nation as a whole.
Some two million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008, census data show. Turnout among white, non-Hispanic voters fell from 67% nationally in President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election bid to 66% and 64% in the following two cycles...
States that saw a downturn in white voting rates in recent years included those in the Rust Belt where a majority of eligible voters are whites without a college degree, an analysis by Brookings Institution demographer William Frey found. These included Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Analysts commonly use lack of a college degree to designate voters as working-class or blue-collar.
Some strategists say the falloff in white turnout rates reflects a relative lack of enthusiasm for recent GOP presidential nominees. A candidate such as Mr. Trump, they suggest, could boost turnout rates among working-class, white voters, who as a group have increasingly favored GOP candidates....
In 125 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—more than half of all counties—the share of white residents without college degrees was higher than the state average, census data reviewed by the Journal show. In 94 of those counties, or 75%, voter turnout was below the state average—in some cases, far below.
In Lawrence County, Ohio, 53% of registered voters cast ballots in 2012, according to the secretary of state, well below the statewide average of 70.5%. In Fayette County, Pa., turnout was 53%, well below the statewide average of 67.6%. In both counties, nearly three-quarters of voting-age residents are whites without college degrees.
The numbers suggest that tens of thousands of nonvoting residents remain available to be moved to the polls—if a candidate is able to motivate them.
I would expect voters in Mercer, Auglaize and Shelby Counties, which are highlighted on the map as high turnout, low percentage of college degree counties, to probably support Cruz over Trump.  However, with Kasich in the mix, things will be interesting.

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