Monday, October 19, 2015

An Explanation for Why Trump is Ahead Right Now

After the second Republican debate, I saw something happening among GOP voters that I attempted to define as the difference between Trump supporters and what I called "Goldwater Republicans." Then, along came John Judis with his description of the former as Middle American Radicals (MARS). Ultimately, what this is all about is the difference between blue collar and white collar Republicans. When it comes to actual voters, rather than the candidates or their degree of experience or their connection (or lack thereof) to the establishment, or even their religious affiliation, this is the difference that matters when analyzing the current contest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Apparently Ron Brownstein (with an assist from GOP pollster Glen Bolger) has come to the same conclusion.
The blue-col­lar wing of the Re­pub­lic­an primary elect­or­ate has con­sol­id­ated around one can­did­ate.

The party’s white-col­lar wing re­mains frag­men­ted.

That may be the most con­cise ex­plan­a­tion of the dy­nam­ic that has pro­pelled Don­ald Trump to a con­sist­ent and some­times com­mand­ing lead in the early stages of the GOP pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion con­test.
Here is why that is important.
That dis­par­ity is crit­ic­al be­cause in both the 2008 and 2012 GOP nom­in­a­tion fights, voters with and without a four-year col­lege de­gree each cast al­most ex­actly half of the total primary votes, ac­cord­ing to cu­mu­lat­ive ana­lyses of exit poll res­ults by ABC poll­ster Gary Langer. With the two wings evenly matched in size, Trump’s great­er suc­cess at con­sol­id­at­ing his “brack­et” ex­plains much of his ad­vant­age in the polls.
You might recall that Judis pegged the number of MARS voters at approximately 30-35% of Republican voters and 20% of the electorate.

For those who are either convinced of Trump's eventual demise or think that he can't be beat, here's what it comes down to:
Bol­ger pre­dicts that up­scale and white-col­lar Re­pub­lic­ans will even­tu­ally uni­fy around a single al­tern­at­ive to Trump after the early vot­ing culls the field. “Giv­en how much Trump is dom­in­at­ing the cam­paign, the fact that he does so much worse with col­lege gradu­ates un­der­scores that they are not buy­ing in­to either his mes­sage or per­sona,” Bol­ger said. “That’s not who he is tar­get­ing his mes­sage to.”

But be­cause so many can­did­ates are run­ning com­pet­it­ively with those voters—in­clud­ing Car­son, Fior­ina, Ru­bio, some­times Bush, Kasich, Christie, and Trump him­self—they face the com­mon risk in the race’s early stages that they will splinter the white-col­lar vote so much that they can’t over­come Trump’s blue-col­lar sup­port. If that pat­tern al­lowed Trump to win not only Iowa, which has fre­quently favored con­ser­vat­ives, but es­tab­lish­ment-friendly early states such as New Hamp­shire and South Car­o­lina, a more cent­rist op­pon­ent may find it dif­fi­cult to re­verse his mo­mentum.
In other words, either white collar Republicans coalesce around a Trump alternative soon, or he starts winning primaries and becomes difficult to beat. How's that for pinpointed political prognostication? It might not be terribly definitive. But it just so happens to be spot-on when it comes to the Republican presidential nominating process right now.

1 comment:

  1. so will Jeb Bush sneak in and get the anti-Trump vote?