There has been quite a cottage industry of political commentators trying to figure out how a dangerous buffoon like Donald Trump could get enough votes to be elected president. The popular version is that he was propelled into office by low-information, rural and working class angry voters. But this article says that that stereotype is false and that there really is no typical Trump voter.
[A]ccording to what is arguably the next-best measure of class, household income, Trump supporters didn’t look overwhelmingly “working class” during the primaries. To the contrary, many polls showed that Trump supporters were mostly affluent Republicans.
Far from being a magnet for the less educated, Trump seemed to have about as many people without college degrees in his camp as we would expect any successful Republican candidate to have.
Among people who said they voted for Trump in the general election, 35 percent had household incomes under $50,000 per year (the figure was also 35 percent among non-Hispanic whites), almost exactly the percentage in NBC’s March 2016 survey. Trump’s voters weren’t overwhelmingly poor. In the general election, like the primary, about two thirds of Trump supporters came from the better-off half of the economy.
Observers have often used the education gap to conjure images of poor people flocking to Trump, but the truth is, many of the people without college degrees who voted for Trump were from middle- and high-income households. That’s the basic problem with using education to measure the working class.
In short, the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a “coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters” just doesn’t square with the 2016 election data.
What this suggests is that Trump’s core message of xenophobia, misogyny, and racism had broader appeal than popularly thought.