Who Are Trump Supporters? They Didn't Go To College. They Don't Think They've Political Voice. They War With Outsiders and Love Authoritarianism. They Are Bigots.

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    Mar 19, 2016 2:05 PM GMT

    March 2016
    Donald Trump is now the presumptive frontrunner for the GOP nomination, attracting nearly half of Republican support, in the latest national poll...Who’s buying this stuff?...

    The first story about the typical Trump buyer was simple: These were poorly informed voters, swept up by a modern circus act orchestrated by a mass-media-age P. T. Barnum with arguably worse hair...

    The second Trump-voter story focused on the typical demographic breakdowns: gender, race, and age. Back in December, a Washington Post analysis found that Trump's support skewed male, white, and poor. The male-female gap was 19 percentage points (47 percent support among men vs. 28 percent among women). He won a whopping 50 percent of voters making less than $50,000...

    But now that Trump has several caucus and primary wins under his belt, analysts have a better sense of who’s actually turning out to vote for him. Here are four features of Trump's constituency:

    They Didn’t Go to College

    The single best predictor of Trump support in the GOP primary is the absence of a college degree. In an analysis of Trump's blowout win in New Hampshire, Evan Soltas determined that the factor explaining most of the variance in Trump's support in New Hampshire was education.

    “For every 1 percentage point more college graduates over the age of 25, Donald Trump's share of votes falls by 0.65 percentage points,” he said...

    They Don't Think They Have a Political Voice

    If there were one question to identify a Trump supporter if you knew nothing else about him, what might it be? “Are you a middle-aged white man who hasn’t graduated from college?” might be a good one. But according to a survey from RAND Corporation, there is one that’s even better: Do you feel voiceless?

    ...voters who agreed with the statement “people like me don't have any say about what the government does” were 86.5 percent more likely to prefer Trump. This feeling of powerlessness and voicelessness was a much better predictor of Trump support than age, race, college attainment, income, attitudes towards Muslims, illegal immigrants, or Hispanic identity...

    Trump has clearly played on fears of non-white outsiders, by likening Mexican immigrants to rapists, promising to deport illegal immigrants and to build a wall between the U.S. and its neighbors, pledging to keep Muslims out of the country during the Syrian diaspora, and playing coy with his relationship with the KKK...

    They Want to Wage an Interior War Against Outsiders

    Matthew MacWilliams, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studies political authoritarianism.

    The classic definition of authoritarianism implies a tradeoff—more security for less liberty—but MacWilliams says it’s also about identifying threatening outsiders and granting individuals special powers to pursue aggressive policies to destroy them. The best predictor of Trump support isn't income, education, or age, he says. In South Carolina, it was “authoritarianism …

    They Live in Parts of the Country With Racial Resentment

    Find a map of the United States and draw a thick red mark just east of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. That's Trump Country.

    Although Trump appears to run equally well among moderates and conservatives in polls, Soltas found that, in New Hampshire, he dominated in more moderate counties. “For every 1 percentage point more liberal the precinct, Donald Trump's share of votes rises by 0.48 percentage points,” Soltas found.

    According to the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, who used data from Civis Analytics, Trump’s support is strongest from the Gulf Coast, through the Appalachian Mountains, to New York, among marginally attached Republicans (possibly former Democrats). It is a familiar map for some demographers, since it’s similar to a heat map of Google searches for racial slurs and jokes.

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    Mar 19, 2016 2:05 PM GMT
    Dec 2015
    he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the G.O.P. coalition.

    He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North..

    Sept 2015
    Decoding Trump’s Supporters

    On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced he was running for President of the United States. The announcement was greeted with less than enthusiasm by the mainstream press...

    ...The Real Clear Politics aggregated numbers for June 17 had Trump at fewer than 3 percent or less than half the support for the next lowest candidate, Chris Christie, and well below Bush, Walker, Rubio, Paul, and Cruz. Within a month, he was at 15.0%, and on July 19, he passed Jeb Bush and has not looked back, reaching 26.5% on August 31, a number more than twice as high as the next highest potential nominee...

    ...In May, Trump was basically non-existent at below 2 percent and on August 31 he was at about 27 percent...

    ...We can answer the question of where Trump got his support because from May 9 through June 9 of 2015, we had YouGov interview 1,418 Americans, of whom 608 (or 42.8%) were either Republican or leaning Republican. The 43% YouGov poll result is consistent with the 42% Republican or leaning Republican that Gallup found in its May poll. YouGov reinterviewed these same people over August 18 through 20...

    ...Overall, Trump’s support came about equally from the top five candidates, 42%, and the second-tier candidates, 38%, with the remaining 20% coming from those with “no preference” or “don’t know” responses prior to June 2015. Among those most likely to vote in the Republican nomination process, Trump took 40% from the leading candidates and 47% percent from the other 14 candidates, with the remaining 13% coming from those uncommitted before Trump...

    ...The demographics of Trump voters are interesting. Slightly over half of Trump supporters are female, about half are between 45 and 64 years of age with another 34% being over 65 years old and less than two percent younger than 30. One half of his voters have a high school education or less compared to 19% with a college or post-graduate degree. Slightly over one third of his supporters earn less than 50,000 per year while 11% earn over 100,000 per year.

    In regard to ideology, 20% of his supporters report that they are liberal or moderate with 65% saying they are conservative and 13% labeling themselves as very conservative. His support from those saying they are involved with the tea party movement is 30%—meaning that 70% of his supporters are not involved with the tea party. In sum, his supporters are a bit older, less educated, and earn less than Republican averages...