A complementary picture emerges from our data in the 2020 battleground states. Those who strongly approve of Trump — represented by the red bars in the graph below — mostly indicate higher levels of racial resentment. This can be seen in the height of the bars clustered toward the right side of the scale.
However, among those who strongly disapprove of Trump in these same states – the blue bars – even more likely voters indicate strongly benevolent attitudes on race and immigration, as indicated by the height of the bars clustered near zero. These are the voters who are likely to be offended by Trump’s racist remarks, perhaps becoming more motivated to turn out on the Democratic side as a result.
Some analysts will say that those who oppose Trump would turn out and vote Democratic regardless of Trump’s racist remarks. But history teaches otherwise. For example, African Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, were less likely to vote in 2016 than 2012.
Turnout matters, and Trump’s record of racist rhetoric may be making some Democrats more likely to vote. Indeed, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who nearly lost his seat to Beto O’Rourke in 2016, recently acknowledged the potential for Trump’s actions to boost Democratic turnout in 2020.