How white female college voters could determine the election

By Daniel Connell. University of Melbourne

Changes in the voting patterns of white college-educated women may deliver the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

Starting in the 1980s, women began to consistently vote more Democratic than men. 

Democratic candidates have won the total female vote in the past six elections by an average of 13%.

Forecasts for this election show the potential Democratic margin for victory among all female voters to be the largest in the modern era. In the most recent five national polls that break out results by gender, Clinton leads Trump by an average of 19%.

PRRI/The Atlantic61%28%
Fox News51%32%
Google Consumer Survey42%29%
Quinnipiac University53%33%

White, college-educated women are one of the few groups of women that Republicans have remained competitive with, even winning this sub-group in 2012.

The last five national polls which feature white, college-educated female voting intentions show Clinton winning this swinging demographic by an average of just over 20%. This is a record margin since exit polling began in 1980.  

PRRI/The Atlantic68%29%
Fox News48%38%
Fox News42%45%
ABC News/Washington Post57%21%

The Brookings institute estimates Clinton will win over four million votes more than Trump from white college educated women. Polling data from ABC shows that in the 2012 election, the percentage of voters who were college educated women (19%) surpassed the percentage of college (17%) and non-college educated men (also 17%) for the first time since exit polling began in 1980. With this demographic more likely to vote Democratic than ever before, white female college educated voters may pose a growing electoral challenge for the Republican party now and into the future.


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