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Trump's approval numbers with black voters are lower than past GOP presidents

Despite claiming he is popular with black voters, Trump’s favorability with them is on par with or lower than other historically unpopular Republicans.

By Josh Israel - June 05, 2020
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Donald Trump

Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that he is “doing very well with African Americans and the vote,” despite the fact that his approval rating among black voters has lingered just above single digits for the majority of his presidency.

Trump, who once predicted he would gain 95% of the black vote in the 2020 elections, has frequently claimed to “have a great relationship with the blacks.” On Thursday, he tweeted that he has “done more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in U.S. history, with the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln…and it’s not even close.”

But a February NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 14% of black voters approved of the job Trump was doing. Gallup polls put his average black approval ratings at 10% in 2017, 11% in 2018, and 10% through November of 2019.

An April poll found Joe Biden leading Trump among black voters by an 85% to 7% margin — not an improvement from 2016, when exit polls put him at about 8% among black voters.

Other recent Republican presidents have had their ups and downs with black voters, but have all experienced significantly higher high points than Trump.

According to Gallup, George W. Bush had an average approval rating of 43% among black voters in 2001 — his first year in office. In his second year, that average rose to 46% approval.

Over time, Bush’s black approval collapsed. It declined from 32% in June 2003 to 16% in June 2004. His approval among black voters averaged just 11% over his second term in office — comparable to Trump’s numbers.

Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, saw relatively high approval ratings among black Americans over the first two years of his presidency. According to Gallup, he began with 51% approval rating in January 1989.

A New York Times/CBS poll found that, by April 1990, he was up to 56% support. The Times wrote that this marked the fourth consecutive poll showing majority support for the elder Bush and that his approval among black voters had dropped below 40% in just one poll during his tenure.

Ronald Reagan began his presidency in January 1981 with 24% black support, according to Gallup. But according to the New York Times, his approval crept up after that, going from 28% in 1985 to 37% in 1986.

Trump’s reelection campaign has already spent $1 million on an attempt to convince black voters that Trump is “woke.”

According to a Washington Post poll released in January — before Trump’s widely panned response to Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd — 83% of black Americans believed that Donald Trump was racist and 80% believed he had made racism worse.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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