Election swings are usually pretty uniform. States tend to shift together from one presidential election year to the next. Most demographic groups do as well.
But there was one glaring exception this year: College-educated voters became a lot more Democratic and non-college educated voters became a lot more Republican.
These patterns were particularly pronounced among white voters. The right-hand side of the Pew Research Center’s graph below shows that college-educated whites were 10 percentage points more Democratic in 2016 than they were in 2012, while non-college whites were 14 percentage points more Republican. The upshot was a historic “diploma divide” in white support for Trump.
There are, of course, several plausible reasons for this growing education gap. No one factor explains everything.
That said, a major factor was racial attitudes. Here is the evidence.