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The Mainstream Media Myth of the Trump Education Gap

News stories claim that a Trump education gap explains the New Hampshire primary results.

For example, in this story from NPR, headlined “New Hampshire Primary: 5 Things That Explain the Results,” the fourth “thing” is blared in bold letters: “There’s a big education gap within the GOP.”

They are obviously pushing a narrative that Donald Trump is attracting the ignorant. If someone just read the headline they would think that relatively uneducated voters were voting for Trump and more educated voters were siding with other candidates.

The first paragraph after the subhead encourages you to think this way.

Trump is drawing much of his support from voters who have only a high school education. Trump dominates his next closest rival in that demographic, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, earning 46 percent to Cruz’s 13 percent.

Well, if Trump won the votes of a lot of high school graduates who never went to college, I wonder who got the most college graduates of all the Republican candidates. Who benefited among the college educated from the Trump education gap?

Surprise: Trump benefited.

Trump does lead voters with higher education degrees, too, but it narrows to just a 14-point gap.

So that is the “big education gap” that NPR thinks partially explains the New Hampshire results. Trump got more votes that any one of the other candidates in both groups, but he won over a larger portion of those only high school educated.

Does that seem like a “big education gap”?

Likewise, ABC News reported,

Voters who haven’t gone beyond high school were Trump’s best group by education; he won 45 percent of their votes. His support fell as education increased, to 21 percent among voters with a post-graduate education – still highly competitive even in that group.

[…]

His support was remarkably consistent among many other groups – by gender, ideology, partisanship, income and most age groups, save seniors.

So Trump has put together a broad coalition, and the media wants to describe it in a way that emphasizes those with less education.

The Trump education gap is important to the media that wants you to believe that Trump feeds on ignorance.

Byron York gives a much more objective description of the Trump coalition at the Washington Examiner:

According to exit polls, Trump won among men, and he won among women. He won all age groups. All income groups. Urban, suburban, rural. Every issue group. Gun owners and non-gun owners. Voters who call themselves very conservative and those who call themselves moderates.

In short, Trump won everybody.

I am no fan of Trump, but give the man his due! He has won a broad spectrum of support. Don’t let the media tell you otherwise.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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