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Is Trump rational?

By Michael Knox - posted Tuesday, 1 May 2018

As a long term subscriber to the New York Times, I know that the attitude of the New York Times to Donald Trump, changed when he was nominated as the Republican Presidential Candidate in July 2016.

It is unlikely that the Devil, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun would actually ever meet in one place. However, the New York Times appears to believe they have all met in the one person, Donald Trump. So, I was more than interested to read in the pages of the New York Times on 29 March, a serious article which was all about Trump, but never mentioned his name. The article was a piece by political commentator and academic Thomas B Edsall. It was called "The 2016 Exit Polls Led US to misinterpret the 2016 Election".

Edsall discussed two recent surveys of democratic and democratic leaning US voters and how they voted in the 2016 presidential election. Both these surveys found that the number of White working class voters were markedly larger than had been previously thought. Importantly White working class voters (those with only a high school degree) were the largest single voting group.


Figure 1: National turnout rates and voter composition 2012 and 2016 presidential elections

SOURCE: Estimates based on authors' analysis of data taken from Bureau of Census, American Community Survey, published November 2017

In Figure 1 above, we have the composition of US voters as shown in a 2017 study by the Centre for American Progress. This shows White working class voters as 45% of voters, Whites with university degrees as 29%, Afro American as 12% and Latino as 9%. White voters without university degrees outnumbered White voters with university degrees by 16% of the population.

Figure 2: Regional Employment Growth


SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) Current Population Survey data published March 2018

The number of working class voters was underestimated by pollsters, because college graduates and especially those with post graduate degrees, tend to answer polls more frequently that those with only high school degrees. Importantly, the White working class is also the largest block of Democratic Party voters. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton only won 28% of White working class votes.

What do White working class voters think?

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This article was first published by Morgans.


The information contained in this report is provided to you by Morgans Financial Limited as general advice only, and is made without consideration of an individual's relevant personal circumstances. Morgans Financial Limited ABN 49 010 669 726, its related bodies corporate, directors and officers, employees, authorised representatives and agents ("Morgans") do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising from or in connection with any action taken or not taken on the basis of information contained in this report, or for any errors or omissions contained within. It is recommended that any persons who wish to act upon this report consult with their Morgans investment adviser before doing so. Those acting upon such information without advice do so entirely at their own risk.

This report was prepared as private communication to clients of Morgans and is not intended for public circulation, publication or for use by any third party. The contents of this report may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Morgans. While this report is based on information from sources which Morgans believes are reliable, its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Any opinions expressed reflect Morgans judgement at this date and are subject to change. Morgans is under no obligation to provide revised assessments in the event of changed circumstances. This report does not constitute an offer or invitation to purchase any securities and should not be relied upon in connection with any contract or commitment whatsoever.

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About the Author

Michael Knox is Chief Economist and Director of Strategy at Morgans.

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All articles by Michael Knox

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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