“The overarching story of recent American elections is that 1) voters of color, who have long been Democratic-leaning, are a growing share of the electorate; 2) white voters with college degrees are increasingly shifting to the Democrats; and 3) white voters without degrees are aligning more with the GOP. But those trends, because they get so much focus, can warp our understanding of the electorate as it exists right now. Demographics are not yet destiny in American elections — millions of people don’t align with the party their race and ethnicity or education would predict. Case in point: In 2016, more than a third of President Trump’s support nationally came from non-Hispanic white Americans with college degrees (26 percent) and Asian, Black and Hispanic voters (12 percent), according to Pew Research Center data. On the flip side, about a quarter of Hillary Clinton’s supporters were non-Hispanic white Americans without degrees.
White Americans without degrees aren’t as likely to vote for Trump as in 2016, according to polls — which partly explains why Biden leads in national polls and key swing states like Pennsylvania. But a big reason Trump could still win the Electoral College, despite the poor marks Americans give him for his handling of COVID-19 and his job performance overall, is that the Black, Hispanic and college-educated white voters who backed him in 2016 are largely still with him, particularly in key swing states.In other words, while Trump is a radical departure from previous GOP candidates in terms of personal style and his frequent racist comments, voters haven’t radically changed their voting patterns amid his rise in U.S. politics — the Americans who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 overwhelmingly backed Trump in 2016 (about 90 percent) and those who backed Trump in 2016 are overwhelmingly behind him in 2020 (about 94 percent).”