America’s political divides cut many ways. But one other widening gulf is the partisan divide among college-educated white voters and non-college-educated ones:
There’s a question that splits Americans neatly in two. Every year, on its American Values Survey, the Public Religion Research Institute asks Americans whether they “think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?” Fifty percent of Americans say that it’s gotten better in this year’s poll, and 47 percent say that it has gotten worse.
But for white voters, the answer to that question is split by education level. Fifty-eight percent of college-educated whites this year say that America has gotten better since 1950, while 57 percent of non-college-educated whites say that it’s gotten worse. When President Trump says “Make America great again,” the again is instructive. He’s capitalizing on the nostalgia that non-college-educated white voters have for America’s past.