Graph depicting Education, Income and Politics
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Description: This graph shows the lead the Democrats have in the generic house race polls. Blue squares with positive numbers show the percentage points the Democrats are ahead. Red squares with negative numbers show how far behind the Republicans the Democrats are. The squares represent each combination of education level and income level. The data comes from Reuters polls between March 29, 2015 and September 29, 2015.

Sources: Reuters Polling Explorer

Data: Excel

Last updated: October 4, 2015

 

Democratic Lead in the Generic House Poll by Education Level and Income



Discussion: In every income bracket, the more educated a person is, the more likely it is that they will vote Democratic. Alternately, within any educational tier, the more income a person makes, the more likely it is that they will vote Republican.

Neither tendency is particularly surprising. Higher income voters have a strong incentive to vote Republican because Republican politicians consistently push for lower tax rates for higher income people, and, conversely, Democratic politicians tend to push for a stronger safety net. More educated voters are more likely to vote Democratic for a variety of reasons, including the general tendency for Democratic policies to align more closely with experts in the relevant fields, the Republicans' position on climate change and the Republicans' tendency to take policy positions that are less supportive of the educational system.

Statistics correlating either education or income alone to voting are often misleading because education correlate strongly, but they pull in opposite directions. So, the results of looking at just one indicator are more confusing than illuminating. For example, Democrats tend to perform best among the very most educated and the very least educated people: highly educated people tend to vote Democratic because of the education and people with very limited educations tend to vote Democratic because they tend to have low incomes. By breaking it apart by both income and education level, you can more clearly see the effect each factor has.

Note that the generic congressional ballot in Reuters' polls during this time period found the Democrats to be ahead by approximately 6% overall. That is not necessarily a strong indicator that the Democrats will win many House races for a variety of reasons, including the extreme gerrymandering currently in place in many states and the tendency for Republican voters to turn out in larger numbers to vote. This graph is not intended to show who will win House races, it is intended to show which way education and income tend to push voters.


See more graphs about: Education   Income   Polls