The president has a tin ear when it comes to race, but African-Americans are better off than before.
President Trump’s approval rating among blacks stood at 40% in a Rasmussen poll two days before Halloween. Rasmussen surveys are often friendlier to the president than those of other polling organizations, so critics are quick to dismiss them as outliers. In this instance, however, that could be a mistake.
Black voters are critical to Democratic prospects in 2020. Two years ago, blacks did not turn out in the numbers Hillary Clinton was expecting, and people in heavily black neighborhoods who did cast a ballot voted more Republican than they had in 2012. It was a double whammy for liberals, who know that if a large segment of the black vote is even in play in 2020, the Democratic Party is in trouble. And while the Rasmussen number is almost certainly too high, other polling suggests that the improvement in Mr. Trump’s standing among blacks is real.
Notwithstanding his “birther” baggage and relative disinterest in courting blacks on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump won support from 8% of all black voters and 13% of black men in 2016, according to exit polls. During his first year in office, the president’s support among women, whites and younger voters declined, yet black support swelled. During 2017, SurveyMonkey found, 23% of black men and 11% of black women approved of Mr. Trump’s performance. “Black men are one of the few groups for which Trump’s 2017 average approval rating significantly exceeds his 2016 vote share,” the Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein wrote in January.