Republicans are so panicked over the thought of a Donald Trump nomination that it has sparked a “Stop Trump” movement. New polls show that fully a fourth of Republicans would vote for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up between her and Trump. The news is full of speculations over a contested convention in the very likely case that Trump remains the lead in the delegate count — and yet, he is in the lead in the delegate count, which has left many wondering who, exactly, supports Donald Trump?
And it seems as though Trump himself answered the question when he exclaimed that he loves “the poorly educated” after his huge win in Nevada in February, which cemented his status as the legitimate frontrunner of the Republican party. It was during his victory speech that the real estate billionaire and former reality TV star made the rather odd shot-out to a segment of his supporters.
“We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”
And it seems as though Trump should love the poorly educated, as it is this demographic that seems to support him.
The New York Times decided to delve into the demographics behind Trump’s surprising rise to the front of the Republican pack. The places where Trump is successful are all across the board, cutting across “many of the usual fault lines of American politics,” including North and South, liberal and conservative as well as rural areas and suburban.
But there is a commonality underneath the seemingly disparate regions and creeds.
It was discovered that Trump is most dominant in counties where there is a large percentage of white high school dropouts, and unemployed people who are so discouraged by the state of the economy that they are no longer actively seeking work. As the Salon reports, the data dug up on the areas where Trump fever is highest leaves little room for doubt as to why Trump loves the “poorly educated,” as he himself calls them.
“An alliance with the incoherent personality cult of Donald Trump’s candidacy correlates strongly with failure to obtain a high school diploma, and withdrawal from the labor force. The counties also have a consistent history of voting for segregationists, and have an above average percentage of its residents living in mobile homes. Many conservatives, and even some kindhearted liberals, might object to the conclusions one can draw from the data as stereotyping, but the empirical evidence leaves little choice. Donald Trump’s supporters confirm the stereotype against them.”
It should come as no great surprise, then, that in the low-educated and low-income counties where Trump does the best, those people in those counties also receive a larger-than-normal amount of public assistance. Not only do the residents receive more public assistance than other, more educated counties, social security fraud is rampant.
It should be noted that Trump has done well, as he himself stressed, with those who are better educated and more affluent. But the places where support for him is at the highest peaks, the portion for those who did not finish high school is high, as well as the percentage of working-age adults who neither have a job or are actively seeing a job. And the third strongest correlation, among the hundreds of correlations that the New York Times tested out — the likelihood of a person living in a mobile home.
Another strong predictor of whether or not Trump is strongly supported in a certain county is how that county responded previously to two disparate third-party candidates: the segregationist George Wallace in 1968 and the more liberal-leaning Republican John B. Anderson in 1980.
Trump does best in counties that had much stronger support than the rest of the country for George Wallace, who famously declared, “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
And lastly, one of the strongest predictors of whether or not a particular county supports Trump is the large percentage of native-born people within this given population. Unsurprisingly, Trump does well when few people in an area are immigrants. In fact, when the Census Bureau asks citizens about their ancestry, some respondents, rather than saying “Irish” or “Italian” answer, simply, “American.”
And it is in the places with the highest concentrations of these self-described “Americans” where Donald Trump does the best.
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