July 13, 2016

In battleground states, college-educated Boomers are key for Trump victory

A series of Quinnipiac polls in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania show Trump ahead of Crooked Hillary in all three, when the Libertarian and Green choices are included.

Looking through the cross-tabs, the biggest difference I see from recent Presidential races is that college-educated whites and Baby Boomers are very strongly in favor of Trump on the East Coast, although not to the same extent in the Midwest, where Trump is within striking distance among those groups, but where he relies more on the non-college-educated and on Gen X (Juggalos for Trump).

He wins among those groups as well in FL and PA, but on the East Coast he is put comfortably over the top by the educated Boomers.

In related news, the Reuters tracking poll shows a steady rise in Trump's numbers in the Mid-Atlantic region, to the point where he's finally polling ahead of Hillary. He is likely doing even better there, since Reuters consistently underestimates his support and overestimates hers. Unfortunately there's no recent data from there based on age, although he's within single digits among the college-educated.

The region not only includes PA but also NY, NJ, MD, and DE. Perhaps this regional trend is being driven only by a very strong movement in PA, but I have to think that he's doing well (even if not leading) in other Mid-Atlantic states too. It's a liberal place, and now that the La Raza judge brou-ha-ha has gone away, and with Islamic terrorism coming back to the forefront after Orlando, places that were the sites of the 9/11 attacks are going to start giving Trump a serious hearing.

In general, Trump is making it respectable for East Coast professionals to be Republican again -- the message is not one of cultural apocalyptic doom, nor selling out the little guy in order to boost the 1%. The original 13 colonies aren't going to believe that the end is near, since they've been through a lot worse for a lot longer. And the tradition of civic engagement makes its professionals want to do something to look after the working class and small businesses, outside the mediation of churches as you find further inland.

On the flipside, the Quinnipiac polls suggest that young people will voluntarily repeal the 26th Amendment this time around. They have the highest rates of saying Johnson or Stein, although very few of them offer the answer of "someone else" when the pollster tries to restrict them to just Clinton and Trump. Translation: they don't like either of the major candidates, and while a small handful will vote third party, most will just stay home.

They're giving the Libertarian or Green response just to alleviate cognitive dissonance when prodded by a stranger. It allows them to feel both engaged and morally pure. But since they barely know who Johnson and Stein are, largely because neither is really campaigning, they don't know what they stand for. And that haziness may allow them to feel vaguely morally pure in "supporting" them to a pollster, but will not motivate them to locate the polling station, leave home, and actually push the button for them.

A voluntary quarantine of the Millennials is the best we can ask of them. Strange as it may sound, it's the Boomers to save the day -- but then, it's always the Wonder Years of the '60s and '70s with them, before the country went down the tubes in so many ways. They're the perfect audience for the non-ironic message of "Make America Great Again".


  1. There seems to be a lot of undecided voters, higher than there were at this point in the last five Presidential elections.

  2. Maybe "Undecided" is another word for "Trump, but I don't want my car keyed." I'd hoped by now to hear more safety-in-numbers bravery in support of Trump but the left is wicked intimidating to a lot of regular folks.

  3. a lot of people are scared to say they support trump because they'll get fired/blacklisted.


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