Posted on March 3, 2016

A Divide Between College, Non-College Republicans

Samantha Smith and Carroll Doherty, Pew Research, March 1, 2016

The 2016 presidential campaign has exposed class and education differences among Republicans. In several primary contests to date, billionaire Donald Trump has fared better among white Republican voters who have not completed college than among white GOP college graduates.


Among Republicans and Republican leaners, about a quarter (23%) are white college graduates. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) are whites who either have attended college but have not obtained a degree, or have not attended college.

Views of immigration, nation’s growing racial and ethnic diversity


Roughly six-in-ten (62%) white non-college Republicans viewed immigrants as “a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.” Just 26% said immigrants “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.” Among white college graduate Republicans, opinion was divided: 44% said immigrants strengthened the country while 42% said they were a burden.

Half of white non-college Republicans said they would be more likely to support a candidate for the Republican nomination who wants to deport all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a survey last September. Among better-educated white Republicans, 38% said they would favor such a candidate.

By a wide margin, Republicans favored building a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Support for a border fence was more widespread among white Republicans who have not completed college (75%) than those who have (64%).

White Republicans with less than a college education also expressed less positive views of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. About half (48%) said having “an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities” makes the U.S. a better place to live. Among white college-educated Republicans, 65% viewed growing racial and ethnic diversity positively.{snip}