It’s not about these voters being less intelligent or well-informed. Matthew Goodwin, a researcher on the hard-right and senior fellow at the Chatham House think tank, says education levels can be a good guide to value system a voter subscribes to.
“That isn’t simply about objective qualifications but is also linked intimately with a divide over values and culture,” Goodwin tells Newsweek . “You often find…that people who have lower levels of education and fewer qualifications also tend to subscribe to more socially conservative and more authoritarian positions.”
It isn’t clear what the causal relationship between education and conservative values is, says Goodwin; while there is some research in France, for example, that suggests going to university exposes you to new ideas and networks and therefore changes your value system, it isn’t conclusive.
But while around 61 percent of EU citizens are without university education, the divide between the educated and uneducated will keep causing problems for moderate politicians if they don’t find a way to reach these voters.