If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States, there will be plenty of surprises along the way. One of the biggest will be the help he gets from black voters....In a word: no. Maybe things have changed dramatically in the last couple of months, but I'd bet real money that what The Atlantic's David Graham reported in late November still holds:
“If he were the Republican nominee he would get the highest percentage of black votes since Ronald Reagan in 1980,” said Republican messaging guru Frank Luntz, referring to the year Reagan won 14 percent of that bloc of voters. “They listen to him. They find him fascinating, and in all the groups I have done, I have found Obama voters, they could’ve voted for Obama twice, but if they’re African-American they would consider Trump.”
Another longtime Republican pollster and veteran of multiple presidential campaigns has tested Trump’s appeal to blacks and Hispanics and come to the same conclusion. “He behaves in a way that most minorities would not expect a billionaire to behave,” explained the pollster, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid damaging relationships within the party. “He’s not a white-bread socialite kind of guy.”
A Public Policy Polling survey in mid-November found that 75 percent of African Americans had an unfavorable opinion on Trump, versus just 9 who held favorable views. A Fox News poll in November found that in a head-to-head matchup against Hillary Clinton, only 13 percent of non-white respondents would pick Trump -- the lowest in the Republican field.... Only 10 percent of black respondents thought Trump was trustworthy. Going further back, an August Quinnipiac poll found substantial skepticism toward Trump among black voters.And by "substantial skepticism," Graham means this:
* When asked "Would you say that Donald Trump cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?" 92% of black people said no....Yes, one SurveyUSA poll in September showed Trump getting 25% of the black vote against Clinton, but that poll was full of bizarre results -- for instance, 17% of "very liberal" respondents said they'd pick Trump over Bernie Sanders, while Sanders got 17% of "very conservative voters." (I'll note that a SurveyUSA poll of Georgia showed that Trump did better among black Republicans than among white Republicans. Maybe that's the kind of result Luntz and the other another unnamed pollster are seeing.)
* 73% of black people said Trump is not strong or trustworthy.
* 79% of black people said they have an unfavorable view of Trump.
When asked "If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton the Democrat and Donald Trump the Republican, for whom would you vote?" 3% percent said they'd vote for Trump.
What Schreckinger writes here is slightly more plausible, but it's still a bit off:
The rest of Trump’s path to general-election victory, as laid out to POLITICO by pollsters, his campaign and his former advisers, looks like this: After winning the nomination on the first ballot, Trump unifies the party he has fractured behind him and reinvents himself as a pragmatic businessman and family man at the Republican National Convention. News of small-scale terror plots on American soil, foiled or successful, keep voters in a state of anxiety. Trump minimizes his losses with Hispanics by running Spanish-language ads highlighting his support for a strong military and take-charge entrepreneurial attitude, especially in the Miami and Orlando media markets. He draws the starkest possible outsider-insider contrast with Hillary Clinton and successfully tars her with her husband’s sexual history.I think Trump can win Obama states, especially in the Midwest. I worry that Democratic voter enthusiasm will be low -- maybe not midterm low, but lower than in 2012 and 2008. I also worry about vote suppression tactics.
If he does all that, holds Mitt Romney’s states, and drives extraordinary levels of working-class white voter turnout in the suburbs and exurbs of Ohio and Virginia, as well as in the Florida panhandle and Jacksonville, he can flip those three Obama states and rack up 266 electoral votes. Winning any one of Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada or New Mexico would put him over the top and make Donald John Trump the 45th president of the United States.
On the other hand, I find it hard to imagine that Trump will suddenly let himself be house-trained, "reinvent[ing] himself as a pragmatic businessman and family man." If he does, he'll lose his appeal to his biggest fans. It's theoretically possible that he could thread the needle -- persuading swing voters that he's a warm, fuzzy guy while continuing to assure base voters that he's a racist Rottweiler -- but I think he'll have to choose one or the other, and either way he's going to lose voters.
But maybe he really believes he can go the nice-guy route. Schreckinger tells us that an ex-Trump aide really believes he could be sold as Ward Cleaver:
... his former political aide Sam Nunberg ... said the businessman can still attract many female voters.Yeah, right -- in a Trump-Clinton race, people are going to vote based on these abstractions, rather than on their own impressions of two of the most famous people in the world. Good luck with that approach, Donald.
Though Nunberg left Trump’s campaign in August, in a recent poll conducted for another client, Nunberg asked women in Connecticut who opposed marijuana legalization who they respected more: a politician who is also charitable and a world-renowned businessman, father and grandfather or an “Elderly woman who not only openly allows her husband to have affairs but tries to silence the women.” The figure with the favorable abstract framing of Trump beat the figure with the negative abstract framing of Clinton by more than 20 points, according to Nunberg.
(And I love that voter subset -- "women in Connecticut who opposed marijuana legalization." That's about 35% of Connecticut's femal voters, and therefore less than 20% of the voters overall, in this one state.)
Nancy LeTourneau thinks the appearance of this article is a sign that the media loves Trump. I think it's a sign that political reporters and pundits will swallow any plausible-sounding spin from campaign spokespeople and political operatives. Nothing Schreckinger is told fails his smell test -- but all campaign-trail reporters seem to be like that, don't they?