Trump 2020 polls: White-collar revolt against the President is peaking

Compared to other Republicans, Trump has underperformed with these voters since he started his first presidential campaign in 2015. And by flouting science and openly igniting racial tensions, he now directly centers the campaign debate on two of the main dynamics that alienated these voters from him. This shows signs of accelerating the displacement of these voters – who had never supported a Democratic presidential candidate in polls before 2016 – away from the GOP to an unprecedented new level.

In contrast, although widespread concern in Black and Hispanic communities for both the death of George Floyd and the disproportionate burden they faced as a result of the coronavirus epidemic could increase their participation compared to the lukewarm level of 2016, so far most 2020 polls have not shown that Biden is improving on Hillary Clinton. margin among them. Trump, meanwhile, maintains a steady lead among white voters without a university degree, although almost all surveys show that his margins with women in this group have narrowed considerably since 2016.

Polls now show not only a decisive consensus among whites with at least a four-year college education that Trump mismanaged the coronavirus epidemic and the protests that emerged after Floyd’s death, but also that many of these voters believe that Trump exacerbates these problems through his actions. These include his determination to organize in-person rallies and to accept the appointment of the GOP to a traditional convention audience this summer and his retweeting on Sunday of a video in which one of his supporters sings “White Power”, and a another Monday in which a white couple brandished guns at peaceful demonstrators.
These reactions could make the 2020 election the culmination of the long-term electoral realignment that I have called “class inversion”: the movement of well-educated white voters to Democrats even as white-collar workers drift toward the GOP, a reversal of the model that defined American politics during the first decades after World War II.

Return to 2016 themes

Trump has always tried to convince his predominantly non-university, non-urban white base that he can “alone” protect them from the twin forces he describes as threatening their interests: contemptuous elites who despise their values, and dangerous minorities and immigrants. who allegedly threaten their jobs and physical security.

Under enormous pressure from the coronavirus epidemic and massive nationwide protests against racial inequality, Trump returned to these main themes.

He has often disparaged the advice of medical experts, especially by refusing to wear a mask and continuing to organize large gatherings in person against objections from local officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Phoenix. And he responded to Floyd’s protests primarily with racist belligerence, like his twin retweets of angry whites over the weekend, his steadfast defense of Confederate monuments and his accusation that certain aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement represent “Treason , sedition, insurrection “. ! “

Observers on both sides believe Trump sees his disregard for local officials and medical experts at rallies as a way to strengthen his identity as a foreigner who breaks the rules to defend the interests of his constituents. But on both sides, many believe that this approach carries enormous risks, particularly with older voters who have a college education, both of whom have expressed high levels of concern about the pandemic.

People applaud while attending a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the BOK Center on Saturday June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
When Trump appeared last week in the suburbs of Phoenix, which suffers from a strong coronavirus outbreak that drove the total workload last Monday to 45,000 in Maricopa County, much of the coverage of his rally in a mega-church focused on her refusal to demand masks or social media. distance and how little time he spent on the epidemic (10 minutes at a 90-minute address).

For Trump, hosting an event that didn’t require masks “is a bit deaf in this part of the state,” Charles Coughlin, a veteran Republican consultant based in Phoenix, told me. “This is part of [his] anti-establishment shtick, who seems to wear very thin in a crisis. “

Democrat pollster Nick Gourevitch, whose Global Strategy Group firm helps conduct the daily browser survey to measure attitudes toward the pandemic and race relations, makes a similar verdict. In last week’s Navigator poll, he said, a solid majority of Americans opposed Trump’s decision to restart his rallies, with much greater opposition among white people holding a university degree (about 3 in 5) than those without a diploma (slightly less than half).

In Navigator surveys, about two-thirds of whites with at least four years of degrees have always expressed concern that Trump ignores the opinions of experts, with more than half saying they are very concerned about this scheme, a- he declared.

Trump organizing the rallies despite advice from public health officials is “just fodder for ignoring expert advice, which has always been a deep concern for voters,” said Gourevitch. “They also play in the aspect of self-absorption that he needs these rallies for himself and his own re-election rather than for the good of the people.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a Students for Trump event at the Dream City Church in Phoenix on Tuesday, June 23.
These concerns have been apparent in recent national and national polls, especially among more college voters who often see their own success in life as based on the expertise they have accumulated through their education. In last week’s New York Times / Siena College national poll, about 90% of voters of all races with four-year college or university degrees said they trust medical scientists to provide accurate information about the virus, while only 18% and 12% of alumni said they trusted Trump.
In the same poll, two-thirds of four-year-old graduates and three-quarters of graduates said they disapproved of Trump’s response to the epidemic. Likewise, in the latest CNN national survey by SRSS, nearly two-thirds of college-educated whites disapproved of Trump’s response to the epidemic – while a narrow majority of white people with no diplomas approved.

Republican counselor Alex Conant, director of communications for Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said such figures among well-educated voters (as well as comparable weakness among seniors) show the price of understating the crisis by Trump and his open challenge to public health. officials.

“I think that’s why he loses in all of these swing states,” said Conant. “I think there is a slice of his base that likes it and that supports him a lot by being cautious about the wind and hitting the campaign track. And that is part of his base with which he is very But then if you’re an independent voter or a more traditional conservative … it’s a constant reminder of everything you don’t like about being president. We are far from talking about taxes and judges. “

As a measure of Trump’s challenge, even Jacksonville, the site of his convention acceptance speech, announced Monday that it would force residents to wear masks in public and indoors.

Similar concerns about race relations

All indications are that Trump’s response to Floyd’s death and the protests it sparked is dividing the electorate in the same vein. After initially expressing concern about Floyd’s death, Trump returned to more familiar ground by urging greater force against the violent protesters (and applying him before he marched to the Church of St. John’s), highlighting these racist videos and repeatedly denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement.

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In all of these gestures, Trump echoed the arguments of Richard Nixon, who won the presidency in 1968 in part by promising to restore “public order.” But in the process, Trump can only demonstrate how much the country has changed since the days of Nixon. Above all, polls this spring regularly show that Trump’s belligerent message about race alienates not only the growing number of voters of color, but also the same white, university-educated voters already worried about his handling of the coronavirus.

In this latest CNN national survey, 71% of whites with degrees of at least four years said they disapproved of Trump’s management of race relations. It was almost as high as the percentage of non-whites (75%) who disagreed.
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A national Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month found that two-thirds of white college graduates preferred Biden to Trump for managing race relations (while a majority of white people without a diploma favored Trump.) advantage as important as Biden benefited from this issue. among Hispanics (although black voters prefer it even more categorically, by almost 10 to 1).

As Matt McDermott, a Democratic pollster, argued, these results point to a critical change from 1968: while most white suburbs believed that Nixon could alleviate the unrest, many equivalent voters today believe that Trump’s confrontational and confrontational language about race increases the risk. violence in their communities.

In a striking discovery, Quinnipiac this month found that white college graduates, by 2 to 1, said that having Trump as president made them feel less secure than more. In comparison, whites without degrees, with a margin of 20 points, said that Trump made them feel safer.

Navigator polls have also found that two-thirds of college whites have expressed concern that in times of crisis, Trump makes matters worse “with … inflammatory words and actions.”

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The cumulative effect of these attitudes could lead to an unprecedented deficit for a Republican presidential candidate among well-educated whites. Until 2016, neither of the two oldest sources of voter choice data had ever shown that Democrats earned white voters with university degrees. This was true for exit polls for a consortium of media organizations since the 1970s and for U.S. national electoral studies from the University of Michigan, which date back to 1952.

In 2016, exit surveys by Edison Research for media organizations that included CNN showed that Trump had a narrow 3-point victory among white people in school, while the U.S. National Election Studies survey gave Clinton an advantage of 10 points – the first time this survey had ever shown that the Democrats won in this group.

(Two other widely discussed sources of data on the outcome also diverged: the post-election analysis of Catalist, a company targeting the voters of Democrats, showed that Trump was closely transporting these well-educated voters, while a study of voters verified by the Pew Research Center gave Clinton a 20-point advantage.)

Despite the differences in overall margins, these analyzes converged around a key point: all of them showed that Clinton won among white women with college education. Trump, in turn, led among white men with a university degree in all but Pew, and even this study gave Clinton only a very small lead.

But compared to one of these 2016 results, almost all of the latest national polls show that Trump is slipping more on both fronts.

Biden’s lead among white women in school has peaked in recent Quinnipiac polls (34 percentage points on average they compiled for me from their May and June surveys), NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist ( 29 points in their June survey) and CNN (46 points in June).

Among white men in school, Trump was 8 points behind in the CNN survey and 12 points behind in the NPR / Marist survey; Quinnipiac’s average showed Biden a 4-point advantage among them, at least closer to Pew’s 2016 result.

The New York Times / Siena poll found Biden to be among the top white college graduates, approaching 30 breathtaking percentage points, far more than any other data source recorded in 2016. Recent polls have shown that Biden is leading comfortably among white, university-educated voters in such key battlefield states as Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Wisconsin.

In November

All of this indicates that November could produce perhaps the biggest gap between whites with and without a university degree. In most national and national polls, Trump consistently retains a huge advantage of at least 2 to 1 among white men in blue collars, his best group in 2016.

And while polls consistently show that Trump’s margin among white-collar blue-collar women has been shrinking since 2016, in most polls, he maintains at least some lead with them.

Anything near these results among well-educated whites would intensify the great movement away from Trump and the GOP evident in the 2018 elections. Before the election, Republicans controlled 43% of the House districts that have more university graduates than the average. After that, they only held a quarter of it.

Now, with Trump’s messages and performances on the virus and race further frustrating these voters, the GOP is facing elections that could consolidate and even extend the Democratic advance in these well-educated suburbs.

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Republicans could lose other seats in the House in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Tampa, Florida, among others; resistance in major metropolitan centers is the main threat to GOP senators in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and possibly Iowa and Georgia; and Trump is faced with the prospect of an even deeper decline in the largest metropolitan centers, not only of traditionally blue states, but also of emerging battlefields of the sunbelt, including Arizona, Georgia and the Texas.

Phoenix-centered Maricopa County was the largest U.S. county it won in 2016, for example, but recent polls have shown that he and GOP Senator Martha McSally were facing two-person deficits. figures.

Trump has guided his responses to the two major crises of 2020 almost entirely to his base of non-university, non-urban voters, while alleviating the concerns that well-educated metropolitan voters have consistently voiced in polls. This reflects the belief of many Republicans that his most likely path to victory is to reveal even more voters to his base than in 2016, particularly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three states of Rust Belt who launched his election.

GOP pollster Whit Ayres and other Republicans also said Trump could recover at least some ground among well-educated white voters by describing Biden as a threat to raise taxes and hurt the economy and their lives. equity portfolios.

But Conant, the GOP consultant, says that Trump has dug a big hole in the white-collar suburbs by reacting so cavalierly to the two national earthquakes that caught their eye.

“He really doesn’t want to talk about the pandemic, which everyone in America is thinking about,” said Conant. “It’s the same with the Black Lives Matter protests as well. He really didn’t want to talk about George Floyd, which everyone in America has been talking about for a month. When you have this kind of disconnect between the leader and the voters you see in the potential [electoral] wave which is now more likely than not. “

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