Perry Bacon Jr., NBC News, March 2, 2016
African-American Democrats and white Republicans without college degrees played a huge role on Super Tuesday.
The former essentially delivered the winning margins in many states for Hillary Clinton with the latter doing similarly for Donald Trump.
African Americans have complained white Democratic presidential candidates sometimes take their votes for granted, and some white working-class voters feel neither party makes policies to improve their lives.
According to exit polls in six Southern states (Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) that voted on Super Tuesday, Clinton didn’t get more than 60 percent of the white vote in any of them.
If only white Democrats had voted on Tuesday in those states, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would not have been that far behind Clinton in terms of accumulating delegates.
But the former secretary of state won more than 80 percent of the African-American vote in those six states, turning what would have been closer races if only whites had voted into complete blowouts.
Similarly, Trump, in the states he won, had narrow advantages among Republicans with college degrees. He lost the vote among more educated Republicans in Arkansas (Texas Sen. Ted Cruz) and Virginia (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio) even while winning those states. (Cruz won Oklahoma and Texas outright and carried both more educated and less educated voters in those two states).
But among Republicans without college degrees, Trump trounced his opponents. For example, in Massachusetts, Trump won 39 percent of Republicans with college degrees, but a whopping 59 percent of those without. In Virginia, he won 27 percent of those with degrees, compared to 44 percent of those without.
Trump meanwhile has argued that the political establishment of both parties is not doing enough to stop U.S. jobs from going overseas. He has been the most vocal Republican candidate in opposing international trade agreements and arguing that immigration depresses the wages of American workers already here. These are clear appeals to voters who may be struggling in today’s global economy.