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New Poll: Young, College-Educated Republicans Sour on Trump

Donald Trump tracking poll
President Donald Trump - Young College-Educated Republicans Sour in Him

While most Americans focus on whether voters who put Donald Trump in the White House during the 2016 presidential elections will stick with the president in 2018 and 2020, the bigger crack may be happening somewhere else.

For months the question has been whether Trump’s base, the so-called non-college educated whites, will stick with the president even as he breaks campaign promises after promises. But the damage may be happening more among the young college-educated Americans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but abandoned Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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According to Gallup daily tracking poll released Tuesday, young college-educated Republicans under the age of 50 are abandoning President Donald Trump in droves.

The cumulative analysis of the 2016 GOP exit polls found that Trump won nearly half of voters without a college degree and over two-fifths of those are 45 years old and older. He carried only about one-third of college-educated primary voters and just slightly more than that among those younger than 45. However, Gallup reports that by August, Trump’s approval rating among college-educated Republicans has dropped 12 points from his first month in office.

Trump retains his strongest support among Republicans who are older than 50 or who lack a four-year college degree in the current poll. The underlying contrasts underscore how firmly Trump’s movement is rooted in older and blue-collar white America — in the context of the Republican coalition and country overall.

“The problem for the party is they have handcuffed themselves to an anchor that is on the wrong side of history,” says GOP consultant John Weaver, a frequent Trump critic and the top strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

From January 20 through February 18, the new President drew positive job approval ratings from both groups, 88% for the 50 and older Republicans, and 79% for the young according to Gallup poll. But Gallup results from August found the gap in attitudes toward Trump’s performance widened on both fronts.

Post Trump response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA the age gap among Republicans opened even wider. Trump retained an 82% approval rating among Republicans older than 50, compared to just 67% among those younger than 50. His disapproval rating in late August among younger Republicans (at 28%) nearly doubled the level among old Republicans (15%).

Other national polls by Pew Research Center and CNN, and state polls taken by Marist/MBC in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, show that “considerably fewer Republicans who are four-year college-educated or younger than 50 said they approved of Trump’s performance” as well.

“The problem for the party is they have handcuffed themselves to an anchor that is on the wrong side of history,” says GOP consultant John Weaver, a frequent Trump critic and the top strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Pew Research Center polled Americans in late August on an assortment of Trump’s characteristics and the President faced resistance from about one-third of Republicans younger than 50. For instance, just 35% of younger Republicans and GOP-leaning independents called Trump even-tempered (compared to a 54% percent majority of older Republicans). Fully 35% of the younger group also described Trump as not honest (compared to just 20% among the older).

A virtually identical 34% of younger Republicans called Trump prejudiced (compared to 28% of olderAmericans.) Across these same measures, college-educated Republicans ascribe more negative terms to Trump than their non-college counterparts do, though the gaps were not as significant as the party’s age divide.

CNN Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta provided the figures of the August SRSS polls which shows a slightly larger share of college-educated Americans expressing negative views than non-college Republicans. Polls questions included whether Trump’s first six months were a success, whether people were proud to have him as President, and whether his performance had increased or diminished respondents’ confidence in his ability to do the job.

The gaps were greater by age with just over one-third of Republicans younger than 50 saying they were not proud to have him as President and just under one-third indicating that his first six months had diminished their confidence in his capacity to serve.

The Marist/NBC surveys in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin found that fewer Republicans who are college-educated or younger than 50 said they approved of Trump’s performance or were proud of his conduct as President. In Pennsylvania, only about one-third of both college-educated and younger Republicans stated that they were proud of his behavior.

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Likewise, a survey from Pew Research has found that younger and college-educated Republicans are considerably less likely than older and non-college members of the coalition to believe that undocumented immigrants should be denied any legal status, that legal immigration should be reduced, or that immigrants are more a burden than a benefit to the country.

Speculations that Ohio governor John Kasich may challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries is rising with these pockets of discontent persisting. However, GOP consultant and Kasich’s adviser, John Weaver says it is too early to conclude these divisions would provide a sufficient foundation for a credible primary challenge to Trump.

“I do not know the answer to whether Trump can be beaten in a primary yet,” he said.

“Ultimately the party is at a fork in the road. Do we go down a Trump-ian path that is going to be on the wrong side of history on so many issues and is not viable nationally…or do we throw off the yoke of Trumpism and build toward the future? I do not know if we get there in 2018 or 2020 or 2022, but whenever we do it is not going to be a pretty process.”



Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News




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