Last month, as Donald Trump showed his campaign manager the door (again) amid stalling poll numbers, the GOP nominee started trying to make amends for all the alienating things he had said about minorities and women. He apologized for causing “personal pain” with some of his remarks. He started courting black voters. He tried to “soften” his language on immigration. Finally, it seemed that Trump realized that he could not win in November with just the voters that had won him the primary.
But Sunday’s new Washington Post-ABC poll shows that with only two months to go, this outreach has not worked. Overall, Hillary Clinton leads Trump by 5 percentage points with likely voters — a small drop from her 8-point lead just after the Democratic convention, but a formidable gap nonetheless given that the convention bounces have now faded. When asked if they think Trump “is or is not biased against women and minorities,” 60 percent of Americans say he is — the same number as in the August Post-ABC poll and up four percent from the July poll.
The demographic breakdown on that question looks even worse for Trump. 66 percent of women think he is biased. So do 75 percent of Hispanics and 77 percent of African Americans; 59 percent of independents answer in the affirmative, including 69 percent of female independents. Even 37 percent of self-described conservatives see him as biased — a strikingly high number in such a polarized electorate.
In some ways, it shouldn’t be surprising that minorities in particular have continued to dislike Trump, since the talk of “outreach” has been just that — talk, and when he’s not scripted, Trump has trouble avoiding saying offensive things. But as Jamelle Bouie has pointed out, the goal of Trump’s minority outreach wasn’t really to win over minorities themselves; it was “to salvage Trump’s standing with college-educated whites, who have turned decisively against the alleged billionaire for his outright bigotry and general buffoonery.” And in the Post-ABC poll, college-educated whites are not buying what Trump is selling. Fifty-seven percent of college-educated whites say the GOP nominee is prejudiced, including 61 percent of college-educated white women. At this point, the only group of voters that doesn’t think Trump is biased is white men without a college degree (and even 38 percent of them say he is). As faulty a candidate as Clinton is, there is no way a candidate wins with numbers like that.
There are other pieces of good news for Clinton in the poll. Despite her poor “honest and trustworthy” numbers, Clinton wins 46 percent to 41 percent on who “is more honest and trustworthy” and has bigger leads on who has the better “temperament,” who “better understands the problems of people like you” and who “is closer to you on the issues.” President Obama’s approval rating is now at 58 percent, his highest number since the early months of his presidency — which can only help Democrats. The window for a Trump recovery is closing fast.