Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

The Myth of the “Well Educated” Voter

Last night, CNN’s William Schneider said Obama won Oregon because it’s “very well educated state.” Everyone talks as if there are two basic educational categories: high school graduates and college graduates, with the former going for Clinton and the latter for Obama.
Actually, the real battle has been over a third group – one of the largest groups — those with some college education.
In Oregon, this group was the largest category, representing 33% of the electorate. These are not people with doctorates in French literature. It includes some who are currently in college but just as important it includes those who attend community colleges and two year schools, or attended four years schools but couldn’t finish, often for economic reasons. In Oregon, Obama won these voters, 55%-45%. And when he hasn’t won these voters, he’s tended to lose the election. (In Pennsylvania, which Clinton won, the “some college” voters represented 25% of the electorate and went 53%-47% for Clinton.)
Yes, Obama has done well among the best educated and Clinton among the least educated – but Obama is winning because he has also done well among the crucial middle group.

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