A comparison of Mr. Trump’s core supporters with white college-educated Republicans and Republican-leaning independents highlights the distinctive sentiments of white working-class Americans. Only 30% believe that immigrants strengthen the country, compared with 51% of whites with college degrees. Fully 60% of Republican-leaning white working-class voters believe that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks, compared with only 36% of white college-educated voters who are likely to participate in Republican primaries and caucuses. Fifty-three percent believe that blacks would be better off if they just tried harder; 42% of whites with more education thought that way.
Among white working-class voters surveyed, 72% believe that the Confederate flag symbolizes Southern pride rather than racism; only 45% of white college-educated voters agree.
The survey’s most striking finding is the loss of optimism among white working-class voters with Republican leanings: 62% believe that the country has changed for the worse since the 1950s, and only 42% believe that America’s best days lie ahead. Sixty-eight percent believe that hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people. In this respect, white working-class voters are in harmony with white college-educated voters (58%) and the electorate as a whole (64%). The long stagnation of wages and household incomes has eroded belief in the American dream.