Columbia University Professor Thomas B. Edsall EXAMINES the implications of a gradual shift of voters from one party to the other that parallels levels of education:
Over the past few decades, working class whites – loosely defined as those without college degrees – have been a strikingly reliable indicator of the strength of the two main political parties. These voters are highly volatile and their shifting loyalties are a powerful factor in determining control of Congress and of the White House.
When this once reliably Democratic constituency moves away from the party by large margins, Democrats lose…Conversely, when working class whites view Republican House candidates less favorably, Democrats do well…Interestingly, the same barometer effect is not apparent in the voting pattern of whites with college degrees.
These trends would clearly be disastrous for the Democratic Party — except for two well-documented counter-developments: first, the white working class is declining steadily as a share of the electorate; and second, Democrats have made huge gains in a previously Republican constituency, well-educated white professionals, many with advanced degrees.