So Donald Trump’s Supporters Aren’t All That “working Class” After All. | Gradient

So Donald Trump’s supporters aren’t all that “working class” after all.


At this point, you’d think it’d be impossible for this current election to shock you anymore than it already has, but you’d be wrong. Nate Silver and his team have dropped a proverbial bomb on the prevailing thinking around this election’s biggest mystery: Donald Trump’s groundswell of support.

The narrative has been that Trump supporters are a less financially well-off, working class rebellion against the GOP establishment fat cats who have been ignoring the needs of the little guy for years now. That narrative, as it turns out, is not substantiated by the facts. Trump’s supporters—while not quite as wealthy as John Kasich’s or Marco Rubio’s—are doing relatively well. As Silver puts it on his blog.

As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

Silver gets these figures from exit polls conducted in 23 states.

Historically, Republican voters are wealthier than Democrats, so the fact that Trump’s supporters make more money than Clinton’s or Sander’s is not overly surprising—although it doesn’t fit with the media narrative. But the fact that Trump’s supporters make more—sometimes significantly more—than their state’s average is a backwards flip from conventional thinking.

One other interesting note from the study is that 44 percent of Trump voters have college degrees. That’s less than Ted Cruz (50 percent) and Kasich (64 percent), but it’s a lot more than America’s national average of 29 percent.

So Trumps’ voters are clearly worried about national finances (Silver says “substantial majorities” in every state say they are “very concerned” about the economy). But they’re worried about an economic reality that has not necessarily, in a personal sense, manifested itself. There’s a prevailing idea you can find from some pundits that while Trump himself may be deplorable, the poor, working class whites that support him deserve to have their voices heard. And while poor, working class white people definitely do deserve to have their voices heard, there is little actual evidence they are supporting Trump.

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To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit

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