Poll—84 Percent of Working Class Whites Say Government Doesn’t Represent Our Views

A Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN poll finds 84 percent of white working class voters say that the government in Washington, D.C. doesn’t represent the views of people like them—and 74 percent of whites with a four-year college degree say they agree.

Significant numbers of working class whites feel left behind.

Nearly half, or 47 percent, of working class whites feel the country’s best days are behind us. Only 18 percent feel satisfied with the country’s economic situation, with 78 percent dissatisfied—and 53 percent very dissatisfied. Only 24 percent feel satisfied with “the influence people like you have on the political process,” with 45 percent feeling very dissatisfied.

Half of working class whites believe that when their children reach their age, their standard of living will be worse than theirs is now.

Sixty-two percent of working class whites believe that over the past few years, it’s gotten harder for people like them to “get ahead financially,” while 67 percent feel it’s gotten harder to find good jobs.

Fifty-six percent of working class whites told pollsters they would consider voting for Donald Trump, while only 28 said they would think about voting for Hillary Clinton. Thirty-eight percent said they would “definitely not” vote for Trump, while a large majority, 66 percent, said they would “definitely not” vote for Clinton.

Of registered voters, 60 percent of working class whites said they would consider voting for Trump, but only 29 percent said the same for Clinton.

Generally speaking, 22 percent of working class whites said they thought of themselves as Democrats, 34 percent as Republicans, and 31 percent as political independents.

Sixty-two percent of working class whites think the blame for the economic problems facing the working class lies with the federal government, with 20 percent saying it deserves all of the blame. Thirty-three percent say that Wall Street financial institutions are to blame.

Sixty-three percent of working class whites think the federal government gives too much help to the wealthy, and 66 percent say it doesn’t extend enough help to the working class.

Trade is a sore spot with working class voters of all races polled. Sixty-nine percent of working class whites say trade agreements have cost the U.S. jobs, along with 62 percent of whites with college degrees. Thirty-seven percent of working class blacks and Hispanics also say trade deals with other countries have wound up costing Americans their jobs.

Fifty percent of working class whites view the “increasing racial and ethnic diversity in America” as “helpful because it provides economic and social benefits to most Americans,” while 38 percent of working class whites and blacks, along with 31 percent of working class Hispanics, said it was “harmful because some people feel like they no longer belong.” Only 20 percent of college-educated whites agreed.

Fifty-five percent of all respondents said they felt Christian values were under attack in the U.S., with 65 percent and 62 percent of working class whites and blacks agreeing with the statement.

Forty-seven percent of working class whites believe “immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing, and health care,” while 63 percent believe migrants from Muslim countries are “basically good, honest people.” However, 43 percent believe they add to the crime problems in the U.S., 40 percent believe they take jobs from American workers, and 63 percent believe they increase the risk of terrorist attacks.

Fifty-six percent of working class whites surveyed described themselves as employed, while 43 percent said they were not employed, with 23 percent retired.

The Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN poll surveyed 1,614 adults nationwide aged 18 and older from August 9 to September 5. The margin of error for the full sample of respondents is plus or minus three percentage points.


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