When Reagan routed Democratic nominee Walter Mondale in 1984, the white working class dominated the electorate. White voters without a four-year college degree cast 61 percent of all ballots that year, and they gave Reagan 66 percent of their votes, the NJ analysis found. White voters with at least a four-year college degree cast an additional 27 percent of the vote, and 62 percent of them went for Reagan. Eighty-one percent of minorities backed Mondale, but they represented just 12 percent of all voters then.Comparing 1984 to 2008, noncollege whites dropped their vote share by 22% while college educated whites increased theirs by 8% and minorities by 14%. Overall, non college educated white voters went from being 2/3 of the electorate to just over a third.
By 2008, minorities had more than doubled their vote share to 26 percent. College-educated whites had increased their share to 35 percent. The big losers were whites without a college degree, who dropped from 61 percent of all voters to 39 percent—a decline of more than one-third from their level in 1984. That is social change at breakneck speed.
I know we've been seeing this kind of information in varying forms for a while now. But that's as powerful a summary as I've seen.