NEW YORK. – With less than two months to go until the US election, President Donald Trump is having trouble energizing his core supporters, especially white voters without college degrees who were key to his victory in 2016, a Reuters polling analysis shows.
The analysis, based on Reuters/Ipsos national opinion polling from May to August and 2016 exit poll data, found that Trump has lost support among non-college educated whites, who made up 44% of the US electorate four years ago and heavily favored the Republican over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump is still more popular with this group than Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, with 46% saying they would vote for Trump, compared with 34% who back Biden. But his 12-point advantage in August is down from a 21-point lead in May, and well below the 34-point advantage he had over Clinton.
What is more worrisome for Trump, however, is that the constituency’s commitment to voting has remained flat this year, while interest has risen among groups that lean toward Democrats: minorities, women, urban and suburban residents and people with below-average incomes.
The data suggests that this time, there will be greater pressure on the Republican Party – and not the Democratic Party – to boost voter turnout to win.
“This is rare, and it’s an interesting indication of how energized or agitated the electorate is,” said Donald Green, a political scientist at Columbia University. “People who would ordinarily not make it past the likely voter screen are doing so because they’re so decisively hostile toward the president.”
In the August poll, 69% of registered African-American voters and 61% of registered Hispanic voters said they were “certain” to cast their ballots in November, up 7 and 6 percentage points, respectively, from May. The number of committed voters rose by 5 points each among women, suburban and urban residents, and people who make less than $50,000 a year.
The number of certain voters has remained unchanged among non-college whites since May at 65%, and is down 2 points among rural Americans to 63%.
The number of registered Democrats who say they are “certain” to vote has increased by about 5 percentage points to 79% from May to August, while it has increased by 1 point among registered Republicans to 78%, the polling shows. That’s a reversal from August 2016, when 69% of registered Democrats and 71% of registered Republicans said they were certain to vote. https://tmsnrt.rs/3jPvUfR
An Ipsos analysis of the data shows that Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points in election scenarios that include only the most engaged, or “likely,” voters. Trump claws back most of Biden’s advantage only in high-turnout scenarios.
The Republican Party has traditionally attracted the most politically active Americans, including majorities of older, white voters, religious conservatives and gun owners.