When Rasmussen released a poll showing 34% of African-Americans support President Trump, it was considered by many to be an outlier.
Shortly after, Emerson College Polling showed nationwide support for Trump among African-Americans to be around 34.5%. The second poll certainly added legitimacy to the original results, but could also be considered a fluke.
Now, a third poll from NPR/PBS Marist shows non-white support for Trump’s presidency is at 33%. While this latest poll isn’t exclusively African-American, it does demonstrate there is a very real surge of support for Trump from minority voters.
This is unprecedented for a Republican president. The only higher poll result among African-Americans for a Republican administration was shortly after the 9/11 attacks when President Bush received a 46% approval rating among African-Americans.
That was a special scenario though, he usually averaged a mere 14% approval with the African-American demographic. Trump himself barely mustered 8% African-American support after his election in 2016.
So where are these high numbers coming from? There are a variety of factors at play.
Trump often touts the historically low unemployment for African-Americans under his administration, and he’s not wrong. At a record low of 5.5%, African-American unemployment has maintained its lowest rate ever under his presidency.
Moreover, Trump has implemented more criminal justice reforms than arguably any other president in modern history. He signed the First Step Act into law, which retroactively lowered the sentences for many convicts of certain crimes – especially non-violent drug-related offenses. Over 4,700 inmates have been released since the law went into effect.
Recently Trump has also been reaching out to African-American voters in other ways, such as a rally he held in Atlanta where he made a pitch to minority voters to vote for him over his opposition.
Vocal support and endorsements from high-profile figures such as artist Kanye West and conservative pundit Candace Owens, have also probably boosted Trump’s image, or at least softened his coarse edges, in the eyes of many African-American voters.
The current impeachment hearings against Trump are likely playing a factor in the results, too. Support for Trump’s impeachment is down among all voter groups in the US, with even 53% of African-Americans polled by Rasmussen believing most media outlets are “trying to help impeach Trump”.
Still, the 2020 general election is months away and a lot can happen between now and then. Trump will need to continue producing good economic results and try to minimize offending minority constituents if he wants to not only maintain but grow support leading into the next election.