Graph depicting Margin of Victory Among College-Educated Voters in Presidential Elections
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Description: This graph shows the margins that presidential candidates won college-educated voters by. Each bar represents a presidential election. The name below the bar shows which candidate won the larger share of college-educated voters and the height of the bar indicates how many points they beat the other candidate by. For all past elections, the numbers are based on the exit polling and for the 2016 election, the numbers are based on Reuters polling for the period of June 8, 2016 through July 8, 2016.

Sources: Gallup   CNN   CBS   CNN   CNN   CNN   Reuters

Data: Excel

Last updated: July 9, 2016

 

Margin of Victory Among College-Educated Voters in Presidential Elections



Discussion: The Democrats have not lost college-educated voters in 25 years. Bush did manage to tie Kerry among voters with college degrees in 2004, but the Democratic candidate won every other cycle, including Gore in 2000, even though he went on to lose the general election's electoral college.

The margins of victory, however, have not been earth-shattering. The highest margin of victory among voters with college degrees belongs to President Obama who beat McCain by 6 points among the college-educated in 2008.

However, Hillary Clinton is currently on track to beat Donald Trump by 23 points among voters with college degrees.

A margin that large is not completely unprecedented. For example, Reagan won college-educated voters in 1984 by 21 points (which is roughly the margin that he won the overall popular vote by). Likewise, FDR won college educated votes, and the popular vote, by similar margins in 1932. But, those have been blowout years. Reagan won 49 states in 1984 and FDR won 42 states in 1932.

There are many potential causes of this sorting based on the level of education. One reason is that Donald Trump's campaign has been largely based on hostility towards various groups of people that may be received less favorably by more-educated people. A similar pattern was seen in the Republican presidential primary.


See more graphs about: Polls