February 29, 1996

Class Collisions in Response to Buchanan, Nationwide

Voters Know More Than In '92

Introduction and Summary

Pat Buchanan’s populist appeals have broadened and strengthened his base as a GOP primary candidate, but at the expense of potential support from key groups that typically vote Republican in presidential elections. A 52% majority of college graduates and 53% of those who earn $75,000 a year or more are displeased with his success on the campaign trail. But most who have never attended college or earn less than $30,000 a year are happy that he won the New Hampshire primary.

The Pew Research Center survey conducted this past weekend found the overall, public divided on Buchanan — 44% were pleased by his New Hampshire win, while 40% were displeased. Not only are working class Republicans reacting favorably to Buchanan’s success. A plurality of Independents who have not attended college are also pleased by his win, as are as many as 41% of Democrats who do not have a college degree.

                    Buchanan's Win ?

                    Pleased   Displeased     DK

All Respondents          44        40        16=100

Republicans:

     College Grad.       44        51        5=100

     Not a Grad.         57        32        11=100

Independents:

     College Grad.       36        55        9=100

     Not a Grad.         43        36        21=100

Democrats:

     College Grad.       39        52        9=100

     Not a Grad.         41        42        17=100

However, Buchanan is turning off many groups that usually vote Republican in presidential contests, and this is more than offsetting his new found popularity among working class voters. He would lose to Bill Clinton by a wide 59% to 36% margin if the national election were held today. Clinton would also defeat Lamar Alexander and Bob Dole, but by narrower margins (54% to 42% and 52% to 44%, respectively). Differences in the patterns of support in these hypothetical races are quite telling. It is a very close contest between Clinton and Dole among people who have attended college, suburbanites and white independents. However, each of these usually Republican groups would support Clinton by a nearly 2 to 1 margin over Buchanan if faced with that choice today.

                    Patterns of Support

               Bill Clinton vs. Pat Buchanan/Bob Dole*

                    Clinton   Buchanan    Clinton   Dole

Total                  59        36        52        44

Sex

  Male                 55        41        48        49

  Female               63        32        55        40

Education

  College Grad.        62        34        47        48

  Some College         62        34        50        48

  High School Grad.

  or less              56        38        54        41

Party ID

  Republican           23        70        13        84

  Democrat             90        10        93        6

  Independent          64        32        49        42

Whites                 57        38        47        48

  Suburbanites         72        26        49        48

White Suburbanites     69        28        46        51

White Independents     64        32        46        44

 * Based on registered voters