Drilling down more deeply, Pew finds finer-grained trends. Republicans have made only modest gains among college-educated men, and none at all among college-educated women. But among men with less than a BA, Republicans have turned a 6-point deficit into a 3-point edge; among less educated women, the Democratic advantage has been pared from 20 points to 8. Relative to 2008, Republicans have made no gains among registered voters with household incomes of $75,000 or more, but they are doing much better among those making less than that. And all of these changes are more pronounced among white voters.
These demographic trends map onto geographical shifts. Republicans have gained no ground in urban areas, but they’re doing much better in the suburbs and in rural communities than they did four years ago. They have made larger gains in the South, Midwest, and West than in the Northeast, which remains a Democratic Party bastion.
The breakdown by religion tells an intriguing story. It’s no surprise that Republicans are doing even better among white evangelicals than they were four years ago. But they have turned an even split among white mainline Protestants into a 12-point advantage, and they have transformed an 8-point deficit among white Catholics into a 9-point edge. (This last statistic may help explain why the Romney-Ryan ticket is doing better than expected in the upper Midwest.)