Pew has analyzed party affiliation data from 2017.
Record share of college graduates align with Democrats. Voters who have completed college make up a third of all registered voters. And a majority of all voters with at least a four-year college degree (58%) now identify as Democrats or lean Democratic, the highest share dating back to 1992. Just 36% affiliate with the Republican Party or lean toward the GOP. The much larger group of voters who do not have a four-year degree is more evenly divided in partisan affiliation. And voters with no college experience have been moving toward the GOP: 47% identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 42% in 2014.
Continued racial divisions in partisan identification. About half of white voters (51%) identify with the GOP or lean Republican, while 43% identify as Democrats or lean Democratic. These figures are little changed from recent years. By contrast, African American voters continue to affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic by an overwhelming margin (84% Democrat to 8% Republican). Hispanic voters align with the Democrats by greater than two-to-one (63% to 28%), while Asian American voters also largely identify as Democrats or lean Democratic (65% Democrat, 27% Republican).
Larger differences among whites by education. Most white voters with at least a four-year college degree (53%) affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic; 42% identify as Republicans or lean Republican. As recently as two years ago, leaned partisan identification among white college graduates was split (47% Democrat, 47% Republican). Majorities of white voters with some college experience but who do not have a degree (55%) and those with no college experience (58%) continue to identify as Republicans or lean Republican.
Millennials, especially Millennial women, tilt more Democratic. As noted in our recent report on generations and politics, Millennial voters are more likely than older generations to affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic. Nearly six-in-ten Millennials (59%) affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, compared with about half of Gen Xers and Boomers (48% each) and 43% of voters in the Silent Generation. A growing majority of Millennial women (70%) affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic; four years ago, 56% of Millennial women did so. About half of Millennial men (49%) align with the Democratic Party, little changed in recent years. The gender gap in leaned party identification among Millennials is wider than among older generations.
Democrats are rapidly shifting left. Republicans have long been on the right.
As we note in the book, non-college whites once accounted for a majority of Democrats. Now they are only one-third: