Thursday, February 18, 2016

Trump and the affluent

Josh Kraushaar (Meet Trump’s Not-So-Secret Supporters National Journal 02/08/2016) looks at Donald Trump's wealthier supporters:

If Trump wins the South Car­o­lina primary, it will be be­cause he ex­pan­ded his co­ali­tion well bey­ond his blue-col­lar base—a sign of his cam­paign’s suc­cess and his stay­ing power. Trump isn’t likely to per­form as well on the Car­o­lina coast as he does up­state, but if he can tally 25 per­cent of the vote in wealthy pre­cincts like these, it makes all the dif­fer­ence to his cam­paign. Without a cred­ible threshold of sup­port from af­flu­ent, col­lege-edu­cated voters, he’d prob­ably be run­ning from be­hind in South Car­o­lina in­stead of hold­ing a healthy double-di­git lead, as most polls sug­gest.

In­deed, many of Trump’s most loy­al sup­port­ers in­ter­viewed said they backed Mitt Rom­ney in 2012, even as he badly lost the state to Newt Gin­grich. They cited both GOP can­did­ates’ busi­ness acu­men as reas­ons for their sup­port, even as their per­son­al­it­ies and policy po­s­i­tions di­verged greatly.

The im­port­ance of rich Re­pub­lic­ans to Trump’s suc­cess has been over­looked amid his rise to the top of the primary field. The com­fort­able con­ven­tion­al wis­dom, fueled by GOP donor sen­ti­ment, is that Trump is fool­ing less-edu­cated Re­pub­lic­ans in­to buy­ing his cur­rent guise of a rock-ribbed con­ser­vat­ive stal­wart. But based on exit-poll data in New Hamp­shire and polling in South Car­o­lina, Trump is hav­ing stun­ning suc­cess with his own class.

In New Hamp­shire, exit polls showed Trump won 32 per­cent of sup­port from col­lege gradu­ates and 31 per­cent of house­holds mak­ing more than $200,000. He won 29 per­cent of the vote in Bed­ford, one of the ton­i­est towns in the Gran­ite State. That’s not far be­hind his over­all 36 per­cent vote in the en­tire state. In Quin­nipi­ac’s na­tion­al poll re­leased this week, Trump wins 30 per­cent of col­lege gradu­ates. That’s still good enough for first place, six points ahead of Marco Ru­bio. [my emphasis]
I would expect that the loyal Republican voters, both elected officials and the base voters, will readily support Trump if he's the nominee. And this is a current sign of how that more general acceptance would develop.

But he will have a very difficult time building enough of a following among less dedicated potential supporters to win an Electoral College majority.

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