A majority of American voters think President Trump is a racist, poll reveals

Fewer American voters thought Alabama segregationist George Wallace was racist when he ran for president in 1968

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published August 2, 2019 1:15PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Nicholas Kamm)
(Getty/Nicholas Kamm)

A recent survey reveals that a majority of American voters believe President Donald Trump is a racist. Fewer thought Alabama segregationist George Wallace was racist when he ran for the White House in 1968.

Fifty-one percent of American voters believe Trump is a racist compared to 45 percent who do not, according to the survey from Quinnipiac University. This includes 46 percent of white voters who think the president is a racist (50 percent say he is not), 80 percent of black voters who think he is a racist (11 percent say he is not) and 55 percent of Hispanic voters who think he is a racist (44 percent do not). While a majority of women believe the president is racist (59 percent), a majority of men think he is not (55 percent).

The larger implications of these statistics were discussed by CNN analyst Harry Enten, who compared Trump's numbers with those of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who ran for president as a third-party candidate on a far-right, white supremacist ticket:

Compare these numbers to a Harris poll from September 1968. Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist, was running for president as an opponent to the Civil Rights movement. As he campaigned, 41 percent agreed when asked whether Wallace was a racist. That was basically even with the 40 percent who disagreed with the statement.

Enten later observed that Trump had not made any gains in his national approval ratings as a result of his controversial attacks on minority legislators, including the so-called "squad" made up of four freshman women: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

"Unfortunately for Trump, numbers such as these a year from now would mean that he would be an underdog for re-election," Enten wrote. "The last time Trump had an approval rating like this heading into a national election, the Democrats gained 40 House seats and won the House popular vote by nine points."

On Saturday, Trump posted a second wave of racist tweets — this time attacking Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. One said that he "has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA. As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

In a follow up tweet, the president added, "Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!"

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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