Politics

Americans With Postgraduate Education Still Back Obama

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Whites show greater disparity in support by education than blacks do

PRINCETON, NJ -- Barack Obama's job approval rating, which has averaged 50% since Dec. 1, continues to be significantly above that average among Americans with postgraduate education (58%). Among educational groups, only postgraduates show a rating above the majority level.

Barack Obama Job Approval, by Education, December 2009-January 2010

These findings are based on aggregated data from Gallup Daily tracking in December 2009 and January 2010, consisting of more than 25,000 interviews, and at least 4,900 in each educational group.

Postgraduates were a key constituency in Obama's winning 2008 presidential-primary and general-election coalitions, and have been Obama's top supporters among educational groups throughout his presidency.

Barack Obama Job Approval, by Education: Monthly Averages, January 2009-January 2010

"Roughly 9 in 10 blacks approve of Obama, regardless of their educational background."

Since July, when Obama last registered an approval rating of 60%, the gap in his approval rating between postgraduates and other educational groups has grown, with his support declining proportionately less among postgraduates than among the other groups.

Changes in Obama Approval Rating Among Educational Groups

Educational Relationship Varies by Group

The relationship between educational attainment and support for Obama is not the same within all demographic subgroups. For example, the educational effects are quite pronounced among non-Hispanic whites, with double-digit gaps between postgraduates and those without postgraduate education. In contrast, there are essentially no educational differences among blacks. Roughly 9 in 10 blacks approve of Obama, regardless of their educational background.

Barack Obama Job Approval, by Education and Race

Postgraduate men and women are Obama's greatest supporters among gender and educational groups. Obama fares especially well among women with postgraduate education (64%). Whereas postgraduates are the only educational group among men that shows at least 50% approval for Obama, all four educational groups among women do. Also, there are essentially no gender differences among those with a high school education or less, but notable gender gaps at higher education levels.

Barack Obama Job Approval, by Education and Gender

Bottom Line

The support of postgraduates, who tend to be more liberal and Democratic in their political orientation, was important to Obama's being elected president. Since he has become president, postgraduates have been among his more reliable supporters, backing him at higher levels than do those in other educational groups.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 25,387 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 1, 2009-Jan. 26, 2010, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error is ±1 percentage point.

For results based on the sample of 6,626 adults with a high school education or less, the maximum margin of error is ±1 percentage point.

For results based on the sample of 8,009 adults with some college education, the maximum margin of error is ±1 percentage point.

For results based on the sample of 5,709 college graduates with no postgraduate education, the maximum margin of error is ±2 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 4,964 adults with postgraduate education, the maximum margin of error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones and cellular phones.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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