What’s predictable about this pairing of Trump and mic is that this is not true.
It’s possible that what prompted Trump to raise this idea that he’s popular with Hispanic and Black Americans was a Fox News poll published last week. It is also possible that he was just saying things and pointing to imaginary polls, as he has done many times before, but let’s just assume he was talking about the Fox poll.
In that poll, Fox News’s pollsters asked Americans how they viewed four political figures: Trump, President Biden, Vice President Harris and former vice president Mike Pence. All four were seen equivalently favorably, within a range of a point or two. Among Hispanics, though, Trump’s “strongly favorable” rating was higher than the other three politicians. If you squint, you might say that Trump is the most popular “political person” in this poll with Hispanics.
Except that he wasn’t. Both Biden and Harris were viewed more favorably overall. Trump had higher overall “strongly favorable” marks thanks to Republican enthusiasm, which is probably what powered his strongly favorable percentage with Hispanics. But his total favorability lagged. Among Black Americans, incidentally, it lagged Pence, too.
I’ll note as an aside that the phrase “doing well with Blacks” doesn’t really make much sense in the current context. Doing well with them … at what? Trump isn’t running for office, at least as far as the Federal Election Commission has been informed. And doing well compared to what? If the answer to that question is “other Republicans,” then I’m afraid, based on the poll above, that Pence has some bad news for his former boss
This question about the favorability of politicians who might run for office is always fraught because it’s dependent on a lot of speculation. In May 2015, Trump was not the Republican who topped lists of the most positively viewed Republican candidates in 2016 because he wasn’t included on those lists. It’s quite possible that any number of other politicians could claim more positive support from Hispanic Americans than Trump, Democrat and Republican alike. But in this poll of four candidates, he does well on one metric. Bully for him.
As it happens, YouGov released a similar, more expansive poll last week, one of its regular polls conducted for the Economist. It asked about eight elected officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Once we account for the fact that fewer people had heard of McConnell and McCarthy, we see that Trump is viewed less favorably among Black Americans than any of the other listed Republicans and bests only McConnell among Hispanics.
So what’s happening here? Again, it may just be Trump making things up, which he has been known to do when in proximity of a microphone. It may also be that he’s exaggerating a poll he saw. Or, perhaps, he’s simply trying to elevate questions about the extent to which Hispanic voters have shifted to the right in recent elections and giving himself credit for the change.
I’ll note as a second aside that Trump faring better with Black voters did, in fact, happen in the 2020 election, helping explain why he did better in more heavily Black areas than he had four years prior. Trump has nonetheless spent a great deal of energy since 2020 insisting that fraud in those same areas is why he lost. Again: He often says things that are not actually true.
Now consider why Trump says this. One part of it is that he likes to talk about how popular he is and if he can claim popularity with groups that have generally been skeptical of Republicans, it heightens the sense of his own excellence that he hopes to instill in his audience. He makes this claim, too, to rebut criticisms of his policies on race — and to help ameliorate any concern among his supporters that there’s an aspect of his politics that derives from heightening racial tensions.
As the midterms approach, Democrats are justified in worrying about both support and turnout from Black and Hispanic voters. Biden’s low approval rating — reflected in the numbers above! — bodes poorly for the party. We should not be surprised to see, for example, a shift to the right among Hispanic voters in part because more-conservative Hispanic voters probably would be motivated to turn out to vote.
This doesn’t have much to do with Trump. But he’s already getting ready to take credit for it.