It is no secret that Donald Trump is doing poorly among minority voters. A Pew Hispanic Center survey of Latinos earlier this month showed Trump winning just 19 percent of their votes. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in September gave him 17 percent among likely voter Latinos. Some state polls of African-Americans have shown Trump with zero percent. A large new Pew survey out just last week showed Trump with 3 percent of the black vote, down there around levels not seen since Barry Goldwater won the GOP nomination after voting against the Civil Rights Act. A rare poll of Asian-Americans in late September/early October gave Trump 17 percent of that demographic.
As we approach Election Day and what could be a close presidential contest, however, it matters a great deal whether minority voters fear a Trump administration enough to turn out in large numbers to help stop it from happening. Certainly the Clinton campaign will be making a final get-out-the-vote pitch to these voters based on convincing them their future happiness depends on keeping Trump far from the White House. And there would appear to be some raw material they can work with in that effort.
An ABC/Washington Post survey earlier this month showed 70 percent of nonwhite voters having a strongly unfavorable opinion of Trump. That actually exceeded the percentage of self-identified conservatives who had a strongly unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey last month showed 70 percent of Latinos have “very negative” feelings toward the GOP nominee. Also last month, a USA Today/Suffolk poll showed 80 percent of African-Americans regarding Trump as a racist, and more than 60 percent of Latinos agreed.
Add in the “voter fraud” talk from Trump that suggests black and Latino ballots are being cast illegally in exchange for government benefits, and his long-standing identification with the “birther” movement aimed at delegitimizing the first nonwhite president. Then there is the tangible revival in white-supremacist political activity he has (deliberately or not) inspired, and you have a rich and diverse menu of political arguments for Democratic get-out-the-vote canvassers. All that has been missing (for the most part) up until now has been the sense that this strange and profane man with an authoritarian air could actually win.
That could matter a great deal. The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman reports that in early voting around the country Latino turnout is up sharply from 2012, but African-American turnout is down. The Clinton campaign might want to get the word out aggressively over the next week that the barbarian is at the gates, and black voters who want to protect Barack Obama’s legacy and their own aspirations might want to take the time to vote.