Do more educated Americans vote Democratic, and less educated Americans Republican?

The New York Times published a fascinating graphic on Friday, September 30, to accompany a front-page article on President Obama’s re-election strategy.

The graphic correlates each presidential candidate’s margin of victory in each state in the 2008 election with the percentage of voters 25 and older in each state who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

For 14 states and the District of Columbia, 30% or more of voters 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree in 2008. All 14 of those states and the District of Columbia were carried by President Obama (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington).

Only 3 states (Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia) had fewer than 20% of voters 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree in 2008. All of those state were carried by the Republican candidate Senator John McCain.

The remaining 33 states, with between 20% and 30% of voters 25 and older having bachelor’s degrees, were divided 14 for Obama and 19 for McCain.

The thesis of the article is that President Obama should win even if the Republicans win all the states they carried in 2008 and also succeed in moving 4 large states with the smallest pluralities from President Obama’s column into theirs (Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio). But I thought the graphic was more interesting.

Does the graphic suggest that Democrats can increase their chances for victory by encouraging and promoting education? Should Republicans be impeding and cutting spending on education in order to improve their chances for winning elections?

You can see the graphic here, and read the article here.

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