A woman places her vote into the ballot box on March 5, 2016 in Bowling Green, Ky.
Photo by Austin Anthony/Daily News/AP

At the intersection of the gender gap and the education gap

In the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll ahead tomorrow’s midterm elections, we find a familiar gender gap: Democrats lead among women voters by 18 points (55% to 37%), while Republicans have a seven-point advantage among men (50% to 43%). This 25-point swing suggests the gender gap in the 2018 elections may be among the largest ever seen.

But CNBC’s John Harwood went a step further and added another axis. What happens when we overlay the data on gender and education levels?

Among men with college degrees, Democrats have a 5-point advantage.
Among men without college degrees, Republicans have a 34-point advantage.

Among women with college degrees, Democrats have a 27-point advantage.
Among women without college degrees, Republicans have a 16-point advantage.

These results are not altogether expected. We tend to think of men voting Republican, which is generally correct, though men with degrees prefer Democrats by a narrow margin. Likewise, Dems enjoy a significant lead among women, but this poll suggests women without degrees easily prefer Republicans.

The gender gap is clearly one of the year’s biggest stories, and if Democrats gain power after the midterms, it will be the direct result of women voters coming through for Democratic candidates.

But the NBC/WSJ data suggests gender only tells part of the story.

Postscript: This is largely consistent with the recent trend: two years ago, Hillary Clinton easily won among voters with college degrees, while Donald Trump easily won among voters without college degrees.