Sep 7, 2018

The battle for the House will be fought among the college-educated

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Notes: Chart excludes districts in Pennsylvania because the district boundaries were redrawn for 2018. Cook race ratings are as of Sept. 6, 2018; Data: 2016 American Community Survey, Cook Political Report and Daily Kos Elections; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The House districts with the closest races in the midterm elections tend to be more educated than the rest of the country. Of the 30 districts currently rated as "tossups" by Cook Political Report, two thirds have a higher prevalence of college degrees than the national average.

Why it matters: It's yet another sign of potential midterm trouble for Republicans, since 28 of those races have a Republican incumbent and President Trump did best with people without college degrees. Strategists from both parties think it'll come down to how suburban voters react to Trump.

The backstory: A Pew survey in March 2018 showed that Trump's approval was highest among those who had never been to college, and a FiveThirtyEight analysis in November 2016 found that Hillary Clinton excelled in higher-educated counties.

What they're saying:

  • Democratic operatives say Trump is toxic in the suburbs, and they believe their message of standing up to Trump performs best with educated voters.
  • Republican strategists, however, believe most of the voters in these districts are still Republicans, and that they'll vote to stick with GOP policies regardless of how they feel about Trump's rhetoric.

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