Liberal Ideals Attract Educated Voters
The conservative party once represented a larger proportion of college-educated voters than the liberal party. But the paradigm is shifting. Today, more college-educated adults associate themselves with the liberal party or lean left in their political views. Less educated voters lean slightly right but are more evenly divided between the liberal and conservative parties.
Less educated voters are nearly evenly split
According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2018, Americans who have no more than a high school diploma are slightly more likely to be conservative than to be liberal. The margin is thin: 45 percent of voters without a college degree lean left, while 47 percent lean right.
For the liberal party, stronger support among minority voters plays into this statistic. While less educated white voters lean right, minorities make up a significant proportion of the country’s less educated population. As the minority population grows, the liberal party may be able to expect to attract a plurality of less educated voters.
College and graduate educated adults lean left
According to the same Pew research, the party divide among voters with college education is more pronounced. Of college-educated voters, 54 percent associate themselves with the liberal party or lean left in their politics, while 39 percent lean right.
Among voters with a graduate degree, the divide widens further: 63 percent lean left, while just 31 percent lean right. Educational attainment is one of the clearest indicators of political affiliation or sentiment.
A well-educated party is at risk
The liberal party is in danger of losing its identity as college-educated Americans increasingly make up its membership.
The Democratic Party considers itself the party of the people. But liberal political candidates are often seen as elites who don’t understand the challenges working-class Americans face. Because of that increasingly elite identity, liberals risk losing the votes and support of the marginalized groups they claim and aim to represent.