A great series of graphs from The Monkey Cage, illustrating one of my frequently-made points: the idea that working-class whites are Republican while “elites” are Democratic is mostly bunk. Andrew Gelman:
Within any education category, richer people vote more Republican…There is no plausible way based on these data in which elites can be considered a Democratic voting bloc. To create a group of strongly Democratic-leaning elite whites using these graphs, you would need to consider only postgraduates (no simple college grads included, even if they have achieved social and financial success), and you have to go down to the below-$75,000 level of family income, which hardly seems like the American elites to me.
Gelman bringeth the data, but I bet this makes intuitive sense from anecdotal experiences we’ve all had interacting with different kinds of voters.
The less educated but highly compensated are overwhelmingly Republican. Think about high-performing sales people or successful small businessmen. The owner of the local car dealership.
The highly educated but less compensated are overwhelmingly Democratic. To stereotype again: think assistant sociology professors, grad students, social workers, public interest attorneys.
In the corners of this matrix where education/income are correlated, the under-educated low-earners tend to be Democrats and the higher-educated high earners tend to be Republicans.
Finally, to add to Gelman’s point about postgraduates not constituting a group of Democratic elites, I think it’s important to remember what counts as a postgrad for the purposes of these statistics. I imagine a lot of people have visions of PHds teaching Queer Theory at Vasser in their minds, but the modal American postgrad is probably a middle school teacher who got herself a Masters degree in order to meet licensing requirements. Not the image of an elite.