2020 Election SparksCampaigns & Elections

2020 Elections & Voting and Campaigns: Division

Posted on in 2020 Election Sparks · Campaigns & Elections

Voting in 2020 saw some familiar divides in the electorate and some that are new. Many observed there is a “diploma divide”, as college educated voters were more likely to vote Democratic than non-college educated voters. However, the diploma divide only exists among white voters. While Joe Biden narrowly won college-educated white voters, he lost by large margin with non-college educated whites. Biden carried non-college educated and college educated minority voters by similar margins. This diploma divide among white voters did appear in 2016 and increased in 2018, but it was even larger in 2020.

There was a racial divide in voting, but it was smaller than previous elections. Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to receive more than 40% of the vote from white voters since Jimmy Carter. Although Donald Trump lost minority voters by a large margin, he did better with them than he did in 2016. Race has been a traditional divide in voting, but it may be closing while the divide amongst college educated and non-college educated whites is increasing. This may indicate a realigning of the party’s electoral coalitions.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Voting and Campaigns"


“White Voters in Swing State Counties Send the GOP a Warning”

“As College Graduates Flee the GOP, Political “Diploma Divide” Grows”

“Joe from Scranton Didn’t Win Back the Working Class”

“How Racial Issues Will Define the 2020 Election”

“What We Know About How White and Latino Americans Voted in 2020”

“How Black Voters Lifted Biden’s Bid for the White House”


  • Debate: Why do you think we are seeing an education divide amongst white voters?
  • What do you think are problems with having a racially divided electorate?
  • Poll: Do you think the education divide in the electorate is temporary or permanent?  
  • Short Answer: How does the education divide look in the US?

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