The decline in Republican Party affiliation among Americans in recent years is well documented, but a Gallup analysis now shows that this movement away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup. Since the first year of George W. Bush's presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline. Among the groups that Gallup listed, the drop in GOP identification was biggest among those with postgraduate degrees: 13 points.This datum reinforces Michael Barone's argument that the party should "go upscale" by nominating candidates who appeal to educated voters. Perhaps the president was trying to thwart such a strategy when he nominated the Mandarin-speaking Jon Huntsman to be ambassador to China.
Still, one should be cautious about assuming that these numbers are permanent. As Jim Gimpel reminds us, party ID can shift rapidly, especially among weak identifiers.