Over time, a Trump-style GOP will likely need more backing from working-class minorities to offset both the entrenched resistance from white-collar whites and working-class whites’ inexorable contraction in the electorate. But so far, Trump has posted little progress among blue-collar black or Hispanic voters. In 2016, according to exit polls, Trump drew just under 30 percent from both college- and non-college-educated Hispanics, and won only 7 percent of non-college-educated African Americans. (That’s even slightly less than his 10 percent showing among blacks with degrees.) The Gallup tracking-poll average through mid-March found him drawing positive job ratings from only about one in six non-college-educated African Americans and just one in five Hispanics without degrees.
Veteran Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, though, found a larger potential opening for Trump’s message when he gathered focus groups to watch the president’s congressional address in late February. Greenberg, who convened the groups for the liberal organization Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, found that minorities listening to the speech emerged significantly more open to Trump.
In those groups, minorities responded best to Trump’s promises to break the cycle of poverty, reform education, and sustain NATO. Other polls suggest Trump’s tough talk about limiting imports and legal immigration, overhauling education, and rebuilding infrastructure resonate with some minority voters who fear eroding economic opportunity.
But minorities in Greenberg’s focus groups recoiled from Trump’s pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act and build a border wall.