USA TODAY takes a close look Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia and home to the type of suburban voter that Donald Trump needs to win to have a chance at winning Pennsylvania.
The biggest swing in the American electorate this year is happening among white, college-educated voters like Mapa. They are a big and growing group — an estimated 23% of the electorate four years ago and expected to be a bit more this year — and they have voted Republican in every presidential election since at least 1952. Four years ago, Mitt Romney won their support by a solid 14 percentage points, according to surveys of voters as they left polling places. But in the latest Pew Research Center poll, taken last month, Clinton led among whites who have a college degree by 14 points.
That may be the most dramatic partisan shift by a major demographic group from one presidential election to the next in modern American history.
In places like Chester County in Pennsylvania, Douglas County in Colorado, Delaware County in Ohio, Wake County in North Carolina and Fairfax County in Virginia, those changing allegiances create formidable problems for Trump in states he needs to win the White House. While national polls give the businessman and reality TV star a 2-1 lead among white voters who don’t have a college education, Democrats’ traditional appeal among minority voters and their new strength among better-educated whites, especially women, risk making an electoral majority all but out of reach for him.
The USA TODAY Network is spending time in eight counties in eight states, exploring the key electoral themes that could decide this fall’s election. Each week from now until the election, we will feature a different one.