Friday, May 13, 2016

White, Working Class Voters Won't Rescue Trump in Fall

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writing in Roll Call highlights the flaw with the notion that white working class workers are going to ride to Trump's rescue in the general election:
Trump’s problems start with the electorate’s demographics, though you wouldn’t know it given the chatter about his appeal with working-class white voters.
Trump has done well with working-class whites, and will continue to do so. But that’s not a game-changer in the general election because working-class whites are now a core Republican constituency, having fled the Democratic Party over the past three decades.
Donald Trump
Their realignment is why states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas and Louisiana are now GOP strongholds.
An excellent January Wall Street Journal piece documented the change. In 1992, whites without a college degree constituted 63 percent of all registered voters. But in 2015, they accounted for only 46 percent of registered voters. However, they were still a substantial 58 percent of GOP voters, which is why they had a more substantial impact in the Republican race than they will in November.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of April 10-14, 2016, asked registered voters whether they wanted the next president to be a Republican or a Democrat. They preferred a Democrat, though by only a single point, 46 percent to 45 percent. But whites with no college degree preferred a Republican, 59 percent to 31 percent.
The same survey matched Clinton against each of the three Republicans then in the race. Among whites without a college degree, Trump held a 57 percent to 33 percent lead over Clinton. But Ted Cruz’s 56 percent to 30 percent lead over Clinton was almost identical, and John Kasich slaughtered Clinton 63 percent to 24 percent among those same voters.
The bottom line is pretty  clear: most whites without a college degree are reliable Republicans, not a pool of new voters — or Democrats — for Trump to turn out in November. Trump’s appeal with those voters does not alter the election’s arithmetic.
After exploding the myth of working class white voters expanding Republican support in the Fall, Rothenberg goes on to address Trump's problems with several demographic groups, including Latinos and African-Americans.  He also notes that significant problem Trump will have with conservatives and other Republicans refusing to back the presumptive nominee.  Romney had 90% plus of Republicans voting for him.  Even with Hillary Clinton being so disliked, Trump, a lifelong liberal who has begun backing away from conservative positions since he became the presumptive nominee of the GOP, will be lucky to get 75% of Republicans backing him.

The supporters of Donald Trump like to portray the New York businessman as a unique type of candidate who has crossover appeal who will flip several states from blue (Democrat) to red (Republican.)  The polling though currently shows Trump to be a worse candidate than the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Head-to-head polling with Trump compared to the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, has been conducted in 26 states.  Of those states, Trump is doing worse than Romney did in 18 of the states:

State Poll 2012 Winner Margin
Arizona -3.5 Romney 9.06
California -25.6 Obama 23.12
Florida -4.3 Obama 0.88
Georgia 5 Romney 7.72
Illinois -21.5 Obama 16.87
Indiana 7.5 Romney 10.2
Maryland -34.6 Obama 26.07
Massachusetts -30 Obama 22.9
Mississippi 3 Romney 11.5
Missouri 7 Romney 9.38
New Hampshire -9.8 Obama 5.58
North Carolina -3.3 Romney 2.04
Ohio -3 Obama 2.98
Pennsylvania -7 Obama 5.38
Texas 2 Romney 15.79
Utah -2 Romney 48.04
Virginia -13 Obama 3.88
Wisconsin -10.7 Obama 6.94

States Romney won that Trump would put into play according to the polling include Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Utah.  Even Republican states like Indiana and Missouri are in reach of Clinton and are likely targets in November.

Now let's look at the 8 states where Trump outperforms Romney.

State Poll Winner    Margin
Oregon 11 Obama 12.1
West Virginia 27 Romney 26.76
Connecticut -7.5 Obama 17.33
Iowa -5 Obama 5.81
Michigan -8.6 Obama 9.5
Minnesota -2.3 Obama 17.69
New Jersey -14 Obama 17.79
New York -21.2 Obama 28.18

While 7 of those 8 states are blue, Trump only has a shot at picking up Minnesota and possibly Iowa.  The other states are out of reach.

Some of the Trump supporters now fixate on a recent national poll by Rasmussen showing Trump leading Hillary Clinton by two points in a head-to-head matchup.  Three polls released since the Rasmussen poll all show Clinton leading that match-up, with one, the CNN poll, showing the former Secretary of State leading Trump by 13 points.  There have been 22 national Trump v. Clinton polls conducted since March 1st. Trump leads in only one of them, the Rasmussen poll.

Rothenberg is exactly right.  White, working class voters are already a reliable Republican constituency.  Trump is not expanding the electorate in the general election by getting those folks to the polls. If he were, the expansion of the Republican electorate would be showing up in the head-to-head polling.  It is not.


Guest said...

No real reason why they won't given the choice:

Commie #1 Clinton or Commie #2 Bernie red diaper doper baby
Trump ? Which will it be America- Great again or over and out America as it once was or on to total mind control---bathrooms, soda pop size, intimidation of speech, indoctrination through education, doublespeak, no borders, overtaxed (its their money not yours) (you didn't build that) (it takes a village) the list goes on lest you all forget the last eight years of blossoming coming events predicting their future....he may not be pretty but he is all we have so I'd say the rush to vote for Trump is one last chance to escape what is to come is we elect another Obama.

Anonymous said...

Check this out for an alternative take on politics:

Paul K. Ogden said...


Unfortunately you're living in a fantasy land if you think Trump supports conservative positions on those issues. He has already reneged on his economic plan and wants to raise taxes, he has in fact advocated that Americans should have their free speech rights cut back and has engaged in intimidation (threats and lawsuits) against people who dare criticize him. Trump supports Obama's position on bathrooms. Trump has already said (and started doing so) he would move to the left to capture Sanders' supporters. There is zero evidence that Trump is more conservative than Obama, Sanders or Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Trump and a dominant Republican congress will resolve many economic issues upsetting the white working class electorate. Here are ten reasons why I shall vote in favor of my own self-interest:
1. The national minimum wage will be repealed or frozen thus creating more jobs.
2. Unions will be weakened to renormalize the blue collar wage structure.
3. Social Security will be saved through privatization and extended age eligibility.
4. Medicare will be replaced with a voucher system giving seniors a choice in paying for health care.
5. The ACA will be repealed eliminating the 20% cap on insurer's profits and eliminating more than 15 million participants. Freeloading 25 year olds and those with preexisting conditions will be dropped from health plans and the savings will strengthen the health insurance industry.
6. Agencies involved in consumer and environmental protections and impose upon business practices will be eliminated.
7. Financial entities will be deregulated as they have now fully learned the lessons of 2008.
8. Medicaid will be given to states as block grants and many charities will step forward to support those in need.
9. Taxation of corporations will be significantly reduced to stimulate the economy from the top down as putting too much money in the hands of workers may lead to inflation. A non-progressive VAT tax system will ensure that everyone will pay the same regardless of income.
10. Corporations will be forced to return to the US and those already here will not be allowed to leave.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 4:13,

You do realize that, with the exception of possibly No. 10 (which I'm not sure how you could legally accomplish), Trump hasn't come out in favor of anything on your list and in fact has opposed many of the items you suggest.

Anonymous said...

Paul, it was merely a post to present Republican policies that have been recently floated to demonstrate how the Republican electorate votes against its own best economic interests. The hold over a large segment of the white Republican electorate can not be found in economic issues but lies in a base reaction to social perceptions. Consider Trump stating that avoiding venereal disease at home was his Viet Nam. As disrespectful as it was towards those who served and died in Viet Nam, he will still earn the support of many veterans who buy into racist propaganda.
Overlooked in making America great again is the fact that 74 straight months of private sector job growth has reduced unemployment to 5%; gasoline prices now bounce around $2/gallon; inflation is nominal; and institutions and public investments were saved from the brink of collapse. It's just further evidence that unrest is due more to a prejudicial backlash against disparate groups who seek equal treatment than over economic considerations.
There is no reason to believe that an uninformed President Trump would not give a Republican Congress everything it requested and there may be a struggle to keep intact programs that Republicans have consistently voted against for a generation.