Poorly educated Americans, long thought to be firm backers of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump after he said how much he loved them in Nevada earlier this year, are moving in increasing numbers to the candidacy of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, a Marist poll released today shows.
Fifty-three percent of poorly educated Americans say they will vote for Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, compared to 41 percent who say they’ll vote for Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential candidate. The remaining six percent are either undecided or were unable to read the poll question.
“Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly enjoying a post-convention bounce with the poorly educated,” says Steven Decker, director of quantitative analysis for the widely watch Marist poll. Last quarter, the poorly educated sided with Trump, 55 percent to 39 percent.
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort says it’s too early in the general election campaign to put much stock in the poll. “We continue to feel confident the poorly educated will turn out for Trump when it counts,” he says, “as long as they don’t have to count anything.”
Nevertheless, the flip in support is a worrying sign, Republican analysts say, because Trump during the primaries made an explicit play for the demographic, saying “I love the poorly educated” after winning the Nevada caucuses in February.
“If this demographic is moving toward Clinton, a core constituency of Trump’s is suddenly in play,” says Charles Foster, a Republican campaign consultant who is not aligned with the Trump campaign.
More worrying still is the launch of an advocacy group, The Porly Edukated of America, that plans to get out the vote of people who are poorly educated on behalf of the Democratic ticket. “Although the material on her website is kind of complicated, we think Clinton has more to offer us than Trump,” says Sam Cooper, president of the new group.
John Turner, one of the poorly educated in Nevada, said he was excited by Trump early in the race and would have voted for him had Nevada held a primary instead of a caucus, which he says is complicated. But he’s having doubts about Trump now, because he appears too intelligent for the average person. “He owns a university, after all,” Turner says. “Anyone who owns a university has to be be smart, because he has to hire all those professors and stuff.”
Turner says he likes Sarah Palin, who he doubts would ever own a university. “I can see her as a cheerleader, though” he says. “She’s fun like that. And I hear she likes basketball players.” Turner says he played basketball in high school and wouldn’t mind showing her some of the moves he can do. But since Palin isn’t running, he says he’ll take the other woman, Hillary Clinton, because she’s promising free college education. “That way it won’t cost me anything when I flunk out again.”
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