For Trump, Appeals to White Fears About Race May Be a Tougher Sell in 2020: Reuters/Ipsos Poll

U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on the grievances of white voters helped him win the 2016 election. But a Reuters analysis of public opinion over the last four years suggests that Trump’s brand of white identity politics may be less effective in the 2020 election campaign.

The analysis comes amid widespread criticism of Trump’s racially charged comments about four minority women lawmakers and the fallout from a mass shooting of Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, that many Democratic presidential candidates swiftly blamed on the president’s rhetoric.

Reuters/Ipsos polling of 4,436 U.S. adults in July showed that people who rejected racial stereotypes were more interested in voting in the 2020 general election than those who expressed stronger levels of anti-black or anti-Hispanic biases.

In 2016, it was the reverse. The Reuters analysis shows that Trump’s narrow win came at a time when Americans with strong anti-black opinions were the more politically engaged group. While Reuters did not measure anti-Hispanic biases in 2016, political scientists say that people who express them closely overlap with those who are biased against other racial minorities.

This year’s poll found that among Americans who feel that blacks and whites are equal, or that blacks are superior to whites, 82% expressed a strong interest in voting in 2020. That was 7 percentage points higher than people who feel strongly that whites are superior to blacks.

“There is some indication that racial liberals are more energized than the racially intolerant,” said University of Michigan political scientist Vincent Hutchings, who reviewed Reuters’ findings. “That would seem to be good news for the Democrats and bad news for the Republicans.”

The July poll did have a silver lining for Trump. Most white Republicans approve of his performance in office. And over the past four years they have become increasingly supportive of his signature issue: expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Some 82% now support it compared to 75% last year.

Trump is clearly still as popular as ever with conservatives who dominate the predominantly white, working-class communities that helped him win in 2016, said Duke University political scientist Ashley Jardina, who also reviewed the poll findings.

In his 2016 campaign, Trump focused on the grievances of white voters who feared the global economy was leaving them behind and who wanted more restrictions on immigration. He employed put-downs of Latino immigrants and inner-city, typically black, residents.

He said then that Mexicans were “murderers” and “rapists,” and as recently as last year, Trump labeled illegal immigration to the United States an “invasion.”

Trump has asserted repeatedly that his words are not meant to be racially divisive. “I think my rhetoric … brings people together,” he said earlier this month.

Responding to the Reuters polling analysis, a spokesman for Trump’s reelection campaign, Daniel Bucheli, said the president “enjoys broad support from diverse groups of Americans, and this coalition of supporters, to include minorities and first time voters, continues to grow daily.”

“If there is something we’ve come to learn about President Trump is that he calls it like it is,” Bucheli said, when asked about Trump’s recent comments about the lawmakers and others.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the poll findings.


The Reuters analysis also found that Americans were less likely to express feelings of racial anxiety this year, and they were more likely to empathize with African Americans. This was also true for white Americans and whites without a college degree, who largely backed Trump in 2016.

White Americans are also 19 percentage points more supportive of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and 4 points less supportive of increased deportations, when their responses from the July poll were compared with a Reuters/Ipsos poll in January 2015.

The July 17-22 poll also found that 29% of whites agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage,” down 7 points from a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in August 2017 and 9 points down from another Reuters/Ipsos poll in August 2018.

The poll also found that 17% of whites and 26% of white Republicans said they strongly agree that “white people are currently under attack in this country, a drop of about 6 points and 8 points respectively from 2017.

Paula Ioanide, an expert in American race relations at Ithaca College, said the poll findings were consistent with her research that racial anxieties among whites peaked during the presidency of Barack Obama.

Some white Americans “are not feeling as under attack as they did in 2016,” Ioanide said. With Trump in the White House, “they’ve seen a kind of endorsement of the kinds of things that they wanted: A restoration of a white identity that they previously had felt was under attack.”

Reuters and its polling partner, Ipsos, developed its race poll with political scientists at the University of Michigan and Duke University, asking a series of questions that measured respondents’ perceptions of people from different racial backgrounds, the treatment of blacks and whites in America and their interest in voting in 2020.

For an explanation of the Reuters/Ipsos poll questionnaire, topline and methodology, click here.


Among whites who dominate the American electorate, the poll showed a widening gap between the way Democrats and Republicans view race.

Some 28% of white Democrats said in the latest poll that “black people are treated less fairly than white people” in the workplace, compared with 5% of white Republicans. Some 59% of white Democrats said blacks were treated less fairly by police, while 22% of white Republicans agreed.

The number of Democrats who said blacks were treated unfairly in the workplace and by police grew by 8 points and 11 points, respectively since 2016. There was almost no change, however, among white Republicans.

White independents were more empathetic toward blacks than white Republicans, but less empathetic than Democrats.

Michael Tesler, a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine, said Trump may be influencing many Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents in their views on race.

“They may not care that much about race initially, and then they see Trump pushing on race so hard on race,” he said. “And so they push back.”

Samantha Burkes, 36, of Bullhead City, Arizona said she was doing just that when she rated blacks well above whites in terms of intelligence, work ethic, manners, peacefulness and lawfulness in the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

“I just wanted to express that I don’t think black people are worse than white people,” said Burkes, a white Democrat who plans to vote against Trump in 2020. “I’m just lashing out, really.”

(Reporting By Chris Kahn in New York, additional reporting by James Oliphant in Washington, editing by Ross Colvin)


  1. Is Trump the one who is using white identity politics? The leftists are the ones who have been making us more race conscious. They are demonizing white people.

  2. Wasn’t Reuters one of the polls that said Hillary would win? Isn’t it the Democrats that are fixating on race?

  3. Reuter’s is just another left-wing, fake news organization. President Trump DOES NOT play on voters’ fears about race, he correctly views what is happening on our unprotected southern border as an invasion by illegal aliens upon whom the Democrats want to make their voters by lavishing welfare and the bounty of our taxpayers. It has nothing to do with race, it is about the economic effects upon US citizens.

  4. “When will the issue of race cease?” Judy M C

    You seem a bit confused by this racism thing. Let me help you out.

    Racism will cease when people stop being racists. It’s really as simple as that. Making it happen won’t be in our lifetimes, so try your best while you are still alive.

    1. Maybe the Blacks should then stop using their race card when they don’t get the free stuff from their Leftist leaders.

    2. Unfortunately liberals/Democrats refuse to acknowledge that racism is not limited to whites. There are people of other races who despise anyone who doesn’t share their racial characteristics. Whites in South Africa are being slaughtered by blacks due to the color of their skin. The people pushing the “white privilege” mantra are racists as well.

  5. And this was the same “poll” that claimed victory for Hillary in 2016, BAWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!! They obviously don’t know their a$$ from their elbows when polling… TRUMP/PENCE 2020 KMAG!!!

  6. Of course he’s promoting racism. What else would you expect from a Nazi? Where’d they poll, a college campus?

    More media lies.

    1. “More media lies” is absolutely correct!
      This poll is biased in its premise. It assumes that “Liberals” are not racists and Republicans are. This is one of the most pervasive lies of the Left. In this case the writer’s pathological presumption of liberal innocence and conservative guilt comes from “political scientists at Michigan State”, so called “liberals” who were fed and swallowed this line since the day they entered their first day of college.
      Why would they assume that “.. people who rejected racial stereotypes..” who are “..more interested in voting in the 2020 general election…” would be Democrats? They assume from the start that rejecting racial stereotypes is a character trait of Leftists. And why would the writer of this article fail to mention racial bias against whites? They fail to mention it like a sleight of hand trick.
      Even the mischaracterization of President Trump’s stance and rhetoric on immigration as “anti-immigrant” shows the writer’s bias. The author of this article is doing the same thing that all Leftist propagandists do. Some Leftist propagandists are more subtle in their deceit.

  7. Polls do not matter. We’ll obviously see how the vote turns out.

  8. First, it’s Reuter’s, second, it’s MSM is trying to fear monger, suppress conservative vote by making people think it’s already over, they’re praying and hoping to fear monger a recession by getting people not to spend (check the headlines as of late). They just don’t get it. They can’t manipulate us anymore. We don’t trust them, and for good reason.

  9. “the president “enjoys broad support from diverse groups of Americans, and this coalition of supporters, to include minorities and first time voters, continues to grow daily.” Daniel Bucheli

    Buchelli is playing with the numbers, to confuse you. Young voters now outnumber the declining number of babyboomer voters.

    The only problem will be getting them out to vote King Donald The Loser from office (31% of 18-29 year olds (2018) and growing, but 51% in 2016).

    “A youth wave is sweeping this nation. Young people are outraged by politicians whose rhetoric and actions embolden extremist bigots. They don’t accept this world of racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism, nor the violence and harm that goes along with it. In record numbers, they voted for change.” Debra Hauser, president for the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, November 2018

  10. When will the issue of race cease? Unless you are blind ignorant, you know that liberals play the race card to be divisive. Liberals are fabricators and swindlers. It’s all about them. If AOC said the ocean was red, and Trump said it was blue, he would be challenged on it, and the liberals would hire a left wing environmentalist to prove it was actually red. They would convince the public that they have been lied to for thousands of years. Liberals are now removing American history from every wall and concrete. They do not want the masses to know the facts. Even SLAVERY was a part of American history, just as it has been for many nations. Of course there are many African Americans who are grateful for the sacrifice their ancestors paid, because of them, they were born in the land of the free and the land of opportunity. I’ve been to Africa, and I love it, but Africans have much better lives here than they do there. Even the poorest community in the states is much better than the poorest in Africa.
    We should thank God for placing us on our path. He is sovereign and directs our path if we do not turn from him. Liberals who promote hatred and corruption will soon meet their end in a place where they will reap their just rewards for eternity. Let’s remember the good of our nation, the dreams Americans feel are most important, having those opportunities that this country has been able to give all Americans. Do not allow liberals to tear our nation apart by turning us against one another. Let us put the blame where It goes, not on Trump who has totally turned our economy around since Obama sent us into recession after recession , let’s put the blame where it belongs,; Liberal Politics! It should be labeled the Divisive Party.

    1. “When will the issue of race cease?” Judy M C

      You seem a bit confused by this racism thing. Let me help you out.

      Racism will cease when people stop being racists. It’s really as simple as that. Making it happen won’t be in our lifetimes, so try your best while you are still alive.

  11. Fifty-nine percent of voters in a Fox News poll released last week said Trump is “tearing the country apart.” That number includes 53 percent of white voters. And in terms of Trump’s bid for a second term, it is telling that 59 percent of independent voters also agree with this sentiment.

    The poll found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of Trump. “His disapproval rating has only been higher once: 57 percent in October 2017,” according to Fox pollster Dana Blanton.

    From The Hill

  12. I am confused, Patti.

    Who are you calling “we here”? The members know King Donald The Loser is a racist?

  13. So let me get this straight. Trump gets elected because people were concerned the direction of the country under Obama. Now they are not as concerned because they have a shift away from the racial divisiveness of a former president. This is supposed to be a problem for Trump, really.

    1. These dividers can put a bow on their bag of poop but it’s still a bag of poop. They will say and do anything to undermine Trump and his supporters.

  14. OK IJR time to stop depending on Reuters for your “stories”. And that’s just what there are. One sided stories. Trump is not racist but Reuters certainly wants him to be. This story must make the Obamas smile.

  15. Our president is not racist. We here know this. The racist people that are using this crap need to come to their senses. Our country needs to come together as Americans. It does not matter your skin color. We need the wall to keep our country safe!!!! Trump is not a racist!!! I wish these idiot dems would crawl back in their holes!!!!!

    1. I am confused.

      Who are you calling “we here”? The members know King Donald The Loser is a racist?

  16. HRC 2016

    I believe that says a whole lot about polls, their veracity and relevance.

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