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02/17/2017 08:32 am ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Minorities And The Non-College Educated Are Underrepresented At The Ballot Box

A new study delves into the demographic disparities in who votes -- and who doesn't.

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America’s changing demographic landscape is the focus of a new report. Donald Trump’s approval rating depends partially on whether you’re just asking registered voters. And both Republicans and Democrats are having second thoughts on the balance between federal power and states’ rights. This is HuffPollster for Friday, February 17, 2017.

WHITE AMERICANS ARE OVERREPRESENTED IN THE ELECTORATE - Rob Griffin, William H. Frey, and Ruy Teixeira on a new report from the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, in conjunction with the Bipartisan Policy Center and  the Brookings Institution: “Our analysis finds the white overrepresentation and minority underrepresentation has been a defining feature of American politics for decades. In fact, we may currently be at peak levels of both overrepresentation and underrepresentation. We also find that white overrepresentation is likely to decline in the future, as underrepresentation of Latinos and Asians declines significantly due to projected increases in citizenship among these groups. This trend will be especially noticeable in states that currently have the highest white representation gaps, such as Arizona, California, and Texas. By 2060, we expect the states with the highest white representation gaps to be interior states, such as Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming.” [CAP]

So are the well-educated - More from the report: “Over the past three decades, we have observed representational divides between those with and without college educations. With strikingly higher levels of participation, college-educated voters have been consistently over-represented in the electorate in both midterms and presidential elections. However, two groups have driven a significant portion of this overrepresentation and underrepresentation: college-educated whites and Hispanics without a degree…. [C]ollege-educated Americans have been consistently overrepresented among the voting population, and the size of that gap has grown over time, particularly in midterms. The total representation gap for college graduates has gone from around 5 and 6 points in 1980 and 1982 to 8 and 11 points in 2012 and 2014. Most of this growth has been due to the steady increase in the size of the college-educated population. Among Americans without college degrees, we see the opposite trend—a growing underrepresentation gap, even as the population itself has shrunk over time. In 1980 and 1982, noncollege Americans were underrepresented by -5 and -6 points, gaps which grew to -8 and -11 by 2012 and 2014.”

ONE POLL FINDS AMERICANS DIVIDED OVER TRUMP - Dana Blanton: “When asked if the Trump administration is working on things that will help their family, 47 percent of voters say yes, while 48 percent say no. That’s almost identical to the split over President Trump’s job performance:  48 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove….Nearly all Republicans approve (87 percent), as do just over half of independents (52 percent).  Among Democrats, 10 percent give him the thumbs up….The poll, released Tuesday, finds 50 percent feel confident in Trump’s judgment in a crisis, up from 43 percent in October 2016.  Yet nearly half, 49 percent, lack confidence in his judgment.  In addition, about half of voters describe Trump as a ‘strong leader.’’” [Fox]

Another gives him much lower ratings - Pew Research: “Less than a month after Donald Trump took office, the public’s initial impressions of the new president are strongly felt, deeply polarized and far more negative than positive…. Trump’s overall job approval is much lower than those of prior presidents in their first weeks in office: 39% approve of his job performance, while 56% disapprove. The intensity of the public’s early views of Trump is striking: Fully 75% either approve or disapprove of Trump strongly, compared with just 17% who feel less strongly. Nearly half (46%) strongly disapprove of his job performance, while 29% strongly approve. This level of strong disapproval already surpasses strong disapproval for Barack Obama at any point during the eight years of his presidency….And while all presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan initially attracted at least modest support from the opposing party, Trump gets almost none….Most Americans see Trump as someone who keeps his promises and is able to get things done, but the public holds negative views across many other characteristics, including his trustworthiness and temperament.” [Pew]

Pew Research

One reason for the discrepancy? Differences in who’s being polled - Courtney Kennedy and Claudia Deane: “Take the past three weeks of polling on President Donald Trump. Depending on the poll, Trump’s approval rating between Feb. 5 and 13 could have been as high as 53% or as low as 39%. So which was it? There are a number of possible reasons for polls arriving at different estimates – from the mode used to collect data to how people are selected for a survey – but here we’ll tackle one of the most basic: Did the poll include or exclude the 45% of adult Americans who didn’t cast a vote last November?...In non-election years like this one, most pollsters survey all adults, but not all follow this convention. A number of pollsters continue to do surveys of registered or even likely voters. Why does this matter for Trump’s approval ratings? It’s about demographics. Voters as a group skew older and whiter than the general public. And older Americans, as well as white Americans, tilt more Republican than other groups.” [Pew]

Pew Research

Divides on Trump’s approval go beyond partisan lines - Emily Guskin, on Gallup’s data: “[L]ook beyond Trump’s partisan and ideological opponents, and his ratings also fall far short of the last Republican president. Among independents, Bush held a 57 percent approval rating at this point in 2001 compared with 35 percent for Trump….Trump’s approval rating is lower than Bush’s by double digits among people at varying levels of education, but the gap is especially stark among those with college degrees….One other group with which Trump lags far behind Bush in his first weeks in the White House is younger Americans….Trump’s standing is not weaker than Bush’s ― but also not stronger ― among some of the core demographics that fueled his primary and general-election campaign. Trump has a 68 percent approval rating among white men without college degrees, for instance, similar to Bush’s 66-percent mark with this group in early 2001….Those numbers may provide some modest assurance to Trump that he is maintaining support among his strongest constituencies, although the Gallup data suggest his first weeks in office have not impressed a broad array of groups that were open to supporting the last Republican in the White House.” [WashPost]

AMERICANS LEAN TOWARD COURT DECISION THAT HALTED TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN  - HuffPollster: “A relatively narrow plurality of Americans believe that a federal appeals court made the right call in refusing to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, although they remain divided on the ban itself. Forty-four percent of Americans say the court made the right decision in refusing to reinstate the ban after it was temporarily halted by a judge, while 37 percent say it made the wrong decision and 19 percent aren’t sure. By a 21-point margin, 51 percent to 31 percent, Americans say that the judicial system should have the power to halt the president’s travel ban….Eighty-nine percent of voters who backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election agree with the court’s decision, while 88 percent of Trump’s voters disagree. Clinton voters almost universally believe that the courts should have the power to halt the ban, while nearly three-quarters of Trump voters say that the judicial system should not have that power….Only 27 percent of Americans now think the government has done a somewhat or very good job of carrying out the ban, down from 41 percent in the previous survey.” [HuffPost]

BOTH PARTIES SHIFT ON VIEWS OF FEDERAL POWER, STATES’ RIGHTS - HuffPollster: “Democrats appear to have grown significantly warier about federal power since a Republican president took the White House, a new survey finds, while Republicans may have softened in their backing for states’ rights. Last July, a Gallup survey found that Republicans favored concentrating power in the states, rather than the federal government, by a 61-point margin, while Democrats preferred stronger federal power by a 30-point edge….Republicans now favor a theory concentrating power in the states by a relatively modest 23 points, the HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. Democrats are evenly split between preferring state and federal power, with nearly half instead saying they’re not sure….Republicans are still far more likely than Democrats to think the government holds too much influence at every level.” [HuffPost]

WILL CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS OPPOSE TRUMP?  - Natalie Jackson: “Trump’s policies are popular among the GOP base ― which means Republican lawmakers who speak out against the president could end up damaging their own chances in next year’s primaries. For the most part, members of Congress behave like ‘single-minded seekers of re-election.’ They advertise the good they’re doing, take credit for things that are going right and take positions that are popular. David Mayhew, a Yale political scientist, laid out this idea in a 1974 book. It rings painfully true in 2017 ― except that ‘popular’ means something different now than it did 40 years ago. In Mayhew’s time, policy positions needed to be popular with the entire electorate. In today’s polarized environment, most members of Congress only need to appease their party’s base….If public opinion among Republicans shifts against Trump, the situation for congressional Republicans will change. But as long as base Republicans support the president, there’s no real incentive for GOP lawmakers to challenge him on anything.” [HuffPost]

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FRIDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Zoltan Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi and Lindsay Nielson find that voter identification laws suppress the minority vote. [WashPost]

-Harry Enten takes an early look at the battle for the House in the next midterm election. [538]

-Kyle Kondik lays out an initial set of ratings for Senate races in 2018. [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]

-Philip Bump examines the partisan and racial divides over presidential approval. [WashPost]

-Brendan Nyhan sees Democrats becoming more susceptible to conspiracy theories. [NYT]

-Carrie Dann reports that most Americans are feeling stressed out by the current political climate. [NBC]

-Jesse Alston writes that the electoral power of the Rust Belt is diminishing. [538]

-A new survey finds Americans warming toward many religious groups.  [Pew]

-Betsy Cooper and Daniel Cox highlight a “double standard” in Americans’ views of religious violence. [PRRI]

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