Support for Trump, GOP Sinks Among White, Educated Voters Ahead of 2018 Midterm Elections, Poll Says

Older, white voters with college degrees helped Donald Trump secure a seat in the Oval Office. Lately, however, the same voters who contributed to the business mogul's victory in 2016 are turning toward the Democratic Party, new polling data shows.

White people over 60 with college degrees now favor Democrats over Republicans for congressional seats by a narrow 2-point margin, according to polling data released Monday by Reuters and Ipsos. While the lead is slim, it's 12 points removed from the same time period in 2016, when there was a 10-point lead for the conservative party. 

Taken over the first three months of 2018, the shift is "one of the largest" the poll has measured over the last two years, according to Reuters. Even more damning for the Republican Party, older, white voters make up the voting majority in crucial upcoming races, including those in California and New Jersey. 

Congressional Republicans up for re-election in 2018 will likely lose their seats if the swing continues, meaning key agenda items from the Trump administration may fail to secure congressional approval. The poll, which included 65,000 respondents nationwide, can be accessed in full here. 

During the 2016 election, about 58 percent of white voters cast a ballot for Trump according to the Pew Research Center. Since then, with the exception of a few outliers, polls have repeatedly shown that support for the president and the Republican Party at large is waning. In December, a Gallup survey found that party affiliation among Republicans dipped 5 percent.

Of course, whether the decline in favorable polling data translates to a dip in actual votes remains to be seen. After all, polling can get it wrong and has in the past. 

There are many documented problems with polling, but a more recent addition is advancements in technology. As a result, people are less likely to answer polling requests, experts say. 

"The problem is simple but daunting," said polling master Nate Silver on his website FiveThirtyEight. "The foundation of opinion research has historically been the ability to draw a random sample of the population. That’s become much harder to do.”

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