College educated and non-college educated voters split

Jeff Thomas, Features Editor

Heading into Tuesday’s election, the polls are not looking great for Donald Trump. 

While it isn’t impossible that lightning will strike twice and President Trump will overcome the polls in consecutive elections, numbers indicate that a repeat of the Democrat’s 2016 demise is exceedingly unlikely.

Most major national polls in the past week show Joe Biden eight to ten points ahead of the incumbent president. While polling indicates that races are tightening in key battleground states during the final days of the campaign, the numbers are still mostly in Biden’s favor.

What’s worse for Trump is that polls now show that the demographics that carried him to victory in 2016 are wavering in their support. Non-college educated white voters in particular now occupy a smaller demographic than they did four years ago — and of that diminished demographic, Trump now garners less support.

Since 2016, this key Trump supporting demographic has shrunk from about 45% of the electorate to 41% of the electorate, according to the Brookings Institute.

In 2016, Trump was able to claim victory in the electoral college from about 80,000 votes spread across battleground states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In those states, Trump was historically successful with non-educated white voters, garnering about two-thirds of the demographic’s support. The conditions of this election just aren’t right for Trump to be able to replicate that kind of success against Biden.

In the last election, Trump was able to prey on the economic insecurity many working class voters were feeling after President Obama’s two terms. He honed in on the Democrat’s desire for globalization and dialed that knob up until rust belt workers were lining up in droves to attend his campaign rallies. This election, however, Trump has been the direct cause of perhaps the worst working class economic turmoil in the nation’s history. 

The Trump administration’s bungling of COVID-19 is yet another scandal that will forever taint “The Donald’s” legacy. Under his leadership, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and millions of Americans have been forced into poverty

This is more than enough to tilt the election in favor of Biden, who despite all his faults, has run a campaign that at least on the surface level seems sympathetic toward the people suffering during the pandemic. Frankly, it is hard to imagine a challenger being in a stronger position against an incumbent president than Biden is against Trump in this election.

What hope Trump has of claiming victory in 2020 lies in his devotion to his white base. He caters to them almost exclusively, and numbers do indicate that Republican voters are more enthusiastic about Trump than Democratic voters are about Biden. 

According to a recent Pew Research poll, 68% of Republicans “strongly support” Trump, compared to just 57% of Democrats feeling that way about Biden. 

Still, those numbers could be merely rhetorical when considering how strongly many Americans now oppose Trump. Resentment of Trump alone is pushing legions of crucial voters into Biden’s camp.

Among other massive missteps, Trump narrowing his base of support and catering so specifically to a shrinking demographic of voters is likely to be the end of his presidency. 

In short — we will soon find out whether non-college educated white voters will be enough to beat the odds and sway another election Trump’s way.