Working-class voters delivered the Republican Party to Donald J. Trump. College-educated conservatives may ensure that he keeps it.
Often overlooked in an increasingly blue-collar party, voters with a college degree remain at the heart of the lingering Republican cold war over abortion, foreign policy and cultural issues.
These voters, who have long been more skeptical of Mr. Trump, have quietly powered his remarkable political recovery inside the party — a turnaround over the past year that has notably coincided with a cascade of 91 felony charges in four criminal cases.
Even as Mr. Trump dominates Republican primary polls ahead of the Iowa caucuses on Monday, it was only a year ago that he trailed Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in some surveys — a deficit due largely to the former president’s weakness among college-educated voters. Mr. DeSantis’s advisers viewed the party’s educational divide as a potential launching point to overtake Mr. Trump for the nomination.
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