The media is preaching a message of doom for Trump’s prospects among minority voters, especially Latinos. The conventional wisdom is that Trump, with his comments about illegal immigrants being “rapists and criminals”, has alienated himself from American Latinos, who sympathize with those coming across the border. However, this may not be the case.
In fact, Trump’s protectionist jargon about jobs and trade, whether substantiated by economics or not, has resonated with many blue collar workers of all backgrounds. That is why he is polling so closely in Pennsylvania. He is also supposed to be competitive in solidly blue Michigan, although polls have him sufficiently below Clinton to indicate that an upset is unlikely.
It is no secret that minorities, especially African Americans, have become a powerful element of the base of the Democrat Party. It is no secret that Hillary Clinton won the South Carolina Primary ~74% to Bernie Sander’s 26% largely due to the votes of African Americans.
Now, the Latino disapproval rate of Trump has often been touted as the demonstration of the fact that Trump does poorly with Latino voters. I disagree. Let’s establish a few baselines here.
First of all, Trumps approval ratings are very poor. That is no secret. But his approval ratings among Hispanic voters, versus his approval ratings among normal voters are not very different. His average unfavorable rating hovers around 60% of normal voters. Latino Americans traditionally have lower views of the Republican party. Given Trump’s terrible baseline, his scores among Latinos are par-for-the-course in terms of Latino involvement in the party. Predictions of approval versus disapproval range from 37% approval to 87% disapproval, but overall, these predictions seem to straddle his average unfavorable rating.
A great honor to receive polling numbers like these. Record setting African American (25%) & Hispanic numbers (31%). http://t.co/p7d6RJeMTZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2015
Latino support of Republicans maxed out under George Bush at 40% in 2004 and 37% under Reagan in 1984. During McCain and Romney’s election efforts, Latino support of Republicans has since dropped precipitously. Trump certainly hasn’t expanded his frontiers, but he hasn’t seriously contracted them either. Some sources predict that Trump will even beat Romney with Hispanics. While this is a contentious point, it is highly possible based on available polling, and it demonstrates that while Trump’s message may have not many Latinos into the Republican party, it may not have lost him any core Republican support either.
As far as African American voters are concerned, polls have ranged from doom and gloom to surprising success. In my opinion, Trump’s support will probably be par-for-the-course for Republican support among blacks, and slightly more than 2012, given his working class rhetoric’s appeal to disaffected blacks, including President Barack Obama’s half brother. We will just have to wait and see.