President Donald Trump only received about 8% of the black vote in the 2016 election and his re-election campaign has been working to improve that number. Now, it looks as though those efforts may, in fact, be paying off.
A recent Fox News poll revealed that Trump’s support among black voters has more than doubled over the past three and a half years, as his job approval among that particular demographic was pegged at 19%, according to the Washington Examiner.
The poll from Fox, conducted between April 4 – 7, queried more than 1,100 registered voters on a variety of topics, including the president’s job approval, his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and how those voters intended to cast their votes in the upcoming November elections.
Among black voters, President Trump’s job approval stood at 19%, and looking deeper, roughly 6% of black voters “strongly” approved of his overall job performance, while an additional 13% “somewhat” approved. The president received similar marks in terms of his favorability rating among black voters.
As for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the president’s numbers were slightly higher among black voters, with 27% overall approving of his response to the pandemic. That included 9% who “strongly” approved and 18% who “somewhat” approved.
With respect to the upcoming election, the numbers did fall off somewhat for President Trump, as only 10% of black voters said they’d vote for him if the election were held today, as compared to 66% who said they’d vote for former Vice President Joe Biden. However, that number for Biden is fairly weak, considering past support for Democratic nominees among black voters, and it is worth noting that 11% planned to vote for someone else, 5% planned to not vote at all, and 8% remained undecided at this point in time.
Granted, the numbers in that poll aren’t evidence of a huge turnaround among the black community with respect to President Trump, but they are markedly improved over his 2016 numbers.
In early March, The Guardian published a rather worried op-ed which noted that President Trump was out-hustling the Democratic Party in outreach to black voters, and the concern was palpable that he could earn enough of their support to tip the scales come Election Day.
Writer Steve Phillips noted that Trump’s 2020 campaign had spent $11 million on a single Super Bowl ad that explicitly targeted black voters, and lamented how effective the ad had been. Phillips also noted that the campaign had set up field offices — pre-coronavirus shutdowns — in 15 cities with large populations of black voters, and pointed out that Trump’s campaign was incessantly touting his various policy achievements that were viewed as beneficial to the black community as a whole.
In a similar vein, Vox published a piece in early March that cited Trump’s 14% approval rating among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, but looked deeper at the “gender gap” between black men and women and found that the president’s support among black voters largely came from black men (24%) as opposed to black women (6%).
To help explain the gap, policy analyst Stewart Lawrence told Vox that the president is viewed as an “aspirational figure” by some black men. “Trump’s business success, his ‘gangsta’ personal style, and his close association with black male celebrities as well as some of his policies (America First, staying out of foreign wars and investing at home) [have] created a real affinity,” Lawrence said.
Trump’s support could go even higher
Again, it must be pointed out that while Trump garnering the support of roughly one-fifth of black voters may not seem like much, it just might be enough to keep the Democrats from obtaining the 90%-plus they typically rely upon to win elections.
Furthermore, considering the known inadequacies of polling, hidden voters who don’t reveal their affiliations until they reach the voting booth, and the fact that Trump may yet deliver more policies viewed as beneficial to black voters, his actual level of support come Election Day could potentially be much higher, and that would certainly be news worth cheering.