College graduated voters have been said to be trending towards the Democrats and the opposite with non college individuals. But that discussion seems to be isolated to white voters.

I have seen reporting that Biden did better with college graduated voters who aren't white versus non-white non-college-graduates. This appears to be a new development, as it said that the opposite was true before 2020.

Has anyone attempted to measure non white voters by college graduation and saw this divide emerging here? Is this a new trend?

  • I can't find the exact tweet but I read it from this twitter: twitter.com/rainbow_jeremy Jun 18, 2021 at 18:07
  • And the opposite was true before 2016. It makes sense that it would carry over, even if it is indeed delayed. Jun 18, 2021 at 18:12
  • I'm not saying that it's a trend. But what I am saying is that it COULD be an extension of that college educated trend. Jun 18, 2021 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


Short Answer

Is there a new divide between college & noncollege with non white voters in the US?


Long Answer

There Currently Isn't A Significant Education Gap For Non-White Voters

In 2020 there was not a statistically significant difference between the voting preferences of non-white voters with and without college degrees.

The CNN exit polls from 2020 did not show a big education divide among non-white voters. The data isn't very fine grained, but there doesn't appear to be the huge disparity seen among white voters.

Education by race 15,590 total respondents (Biden-Trump)

White voters, college degree 51-48

White voters, no degree 32-67

Voters of color, college degree 70-27

Voters of color, no degree 72-26

Associated Press exit polling from 2020 also shows that there isn't much an education disparity among non-white voters after controlling for gender.

enter image description here

There were some subtle shifts between 2016 and 2020, but these weren't all that significant nationally. Most of the shift that was observed involved rural Hispanic voters with support shifting in the direction of their white neighbors in some areas like Southern Texas and the San Fernando Valley of California.

Longer Term Trends: The Education Gap Is Recent And Mostly White

Has anyone attempted to measure non white voters by college graduation and saw this divide emerging here? Is this a new trend?

I haven't seen a longer run trend mentioned in the press in recent decades. This is because there really isn't one.

It is difficult to locate direct statistics on college educated v. non-college educated non-white voters, but a chart from the Pew Center does make it possible to infer this because it shows both totals and a break out chart for white voters only, knowing that roughly 75% of voters are white.

enter image description here

Basically, as recently as 1992, there was not a significant partisan education discrepancy in voting behavior for either white or non-white voters. The left leaning trend for college educated voters first emerges in the Bush v. Gore election in the year 2000.

Since then, the lion's share of the discrepancy overall has been driven by an emerging divide among white voters that has not been shared significantly by non-white voters.

Most of the divide is even more recent. The education divide in 2016 and 2020, even among white voters, is specific to the Trump era and was not nearly so pronounced before that point.

Footnote On Native American and Asian Voters (The Data Is Bad)

The data regarding Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, and Pacific Islander voters was very inconsistent between CNN and AP exit polling. This is likely due to insufficient survey sizes for these populations, so it isn't really possible to draw reliable conclusions from that data.

Also, the U.S. population counted as Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, and Pacific Islander is not at all homogeneous on socio-economic variables, and a breakdown by education within this group (with even smaller subsamples) is likely to be capturing ethnic subgroup differences as much as they are capturing intra-group differences driven by education, as suggested by the following chart:

enter image description here

(Source) (the specifics are less important in this case than the general trend that there is a great deal of variation between subgroups of this census categorization.)

Footnote On The Hispanic Vote's Heterogenous Character

While it isn't quite as heterogeneous, the Hispanic voter population in the United States (while dominated by a large Mexican-American component) is also diverse and multiethnic. Some Hispanic subpopulations (e.g. Cubans) lean to the political right, contrary to most of the subpopulations within this Census established category. Shifts seen in the Hispanic vote in recent years have likewise been very specific to particular subpopulations within this group.

There are also significant political divides between Roman Catholic Hispanics in the U.S. and Hispanics in the U.S. who are adherents of Protestant denominations, mostly Evangelical leaning.

This reflects, in part, the political divide based upon religion present in most of Latin America that has carried over to the U.S. political scene, and in part, the tendency for second and later generation Hispanic voters to vote more like white voters than first generation Hispanic voters do.

For example, according to the CNN exit polls for the 2020 election linked above, Hispanic support for Biden was highest among Catholics 71%, then those with no religious affiliation 55%, and then Protestants 51%.

  • 1
    What I am saying is that there being no big difference could be indicative of a shift because if there was a difference where non college nonwhite voted more Dem in the past, that means a shift. Jun 18, 2021 at 21:52
  • 1
    @NumberFile Updated to address this possibility.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 18, 2021 at 22:48

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