Republicans with college degrees disagree with peers on policy

Those with less college experience are more likely to say the government does not give people a voice

White, college-educated Republicans and those with less education are split on several key policy issues, according to a review of surveys from the Pew Research Center

Twenty-three percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican are white college graduates, while 57% are whites who have either attended college but do not have a degree or have not attended college at all.

When asked about their views on immigrants, 62% of white Republicans without a degree said immigrants were a burden on the country, compared with 26% who said immigrants strengthen the country. Among white, college-graduate Republicans, 44% said immigrants strengthen the country while 42% said they were a burden. 

Related story: Why are all the presidential candidates talking about higher ed

In a survey last fall, half of white, non-college-educated Republicans said they would be more likely to support a candidate for the Republican nomination who was in favor of deporting all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, but only 38% of white Republicans with more education said they would support such a candidate.

Republicans with no degree were also less open to growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S., with 48% saying that "an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities" makes the U.S. a better place to live. In comparison, 65% of college-educated Republicans said they viewed the change positively.

When asked about politics and government, white Republicans without a degree were more likely than those with more education to view politics "as a struggle between right and wrong." Fifty-one percent of those who had not completed college viewed politics as a struggle, compared with 35% of their peers who had completed college.

Non-college-educated Republicans were also more doubtful that voting provides people a voice in government, with 44% saying voting "by people like me" has no effect on how government operates. In contrast, only 33% of college graduates agreed. 

Opinions about class also varied among the groups. Those with less education were more likely than their college-graduate peers to say that the federal government does not do enough to help older people (70% vs. 49%) and low-income people (40% vs. 29%). Less-educated Republicans were also more likely to say that the government helps individuals with higher incomes too much (50% vs. 37%).

However, between 50% and 60% of both groups said the federal government does not help the middle class enough (Smith/Doherty, "Fact Tank," Pew Research Center, 3/1). 


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