One of the most remarkable details from 2016 polling was that, before Election Day, a larger than you might expect portion of Donald Trump’s voting base thought he was racist.
Suffolk University polling from August 2016 found that 7 percent of those who planned to vote for Trump thought he was a racist, full stop. More than 25 percent Republicans in polling conducted in the same time period said they thought that Trump’s rhetoric appealed to bigotry, according to Quinnipiac University polling.
Polling in August 2016 from The Washington Post and our partners at ABC found that about 20 percent of Republicans (including a slightly higher percentage of women) thought Trump was biased against women and minorities. By that September, the figure had jumped to more than a quarter of Republicans — and 60 percent overall.
A new Post-ABC poll, released on Sunday, revisits that subject. The question was broken into two parts, asking respondents if they believed Trump was biased toward women and asking if he harbored bias against black people.
After Trump’s nearly 10 months in office, including a number of high-profile incidents involving race, more than half of Americans think that Trump is biased against women. Fifty percent think he’s biased against black people.
It’s hard to compare that to the 60 percent figure from September 2016, since the question then was, “Do you think Trump is or is not biased against women and minorities?” That includes more than just women and black Americans and also overlaps the two groups. A bit less than half of respondents to our new poll believed that Trump was biased against both women and black people; 60 percent of respondents believed that he was biased against either women or black people.
As you might expect, there were splits in perceptions of Trump’s bias on gender and racial lines. Women were more likely to think that Trump was biased against women, for example. But notice, too, that black people and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic respondents were also much more likely to say that Trump was biased against women. Forty percent of white men think Trump is biased against women; more than half of white women do.
It’s difficult to fully extricate this from partisanship, of course. Most Democrats think Trump is biased against women; most Republicans don’t. Notice, too, the long-standing split among white respondents based on education.
Half the country thinks that Trump is biased against black people, including nearly 75 percent of black Americans. Interestingly, though, black Americans are more likely to say they think Trump is biased against women than black people (though the margin of error is large). Of the groups listed on these charts, only Hispanic Americans are more likely to say that Trump is biased against black people than that he’s biased against women.
More than half of white people think Trump is not biased against black people.
Notice that we also still see overlap between those who believe Trump is biased and those who believe that he’s doing a good job in office. Nearly 20 percent of Republicans think Trump is biased against women, including 22 percent of Republican women. Among those who approve of Trump’s job as president, 7 percent think he’s biased against women.
We also asked respondents how they thought Trump was doing in addressing race relations. About 7 in 10 respondents rated him as “not so good” or “poor” on that metric — including more than half of respondents who gave him the lowest possible rating.
It’s worth noting that poll respondents didn’t really expect him to do well on this metric when we asked in January. At that point 40 percent figured he’d perform well (as indicated by their saying they expected him to do an “excellent” or “good” job). In this poll, the combined figure from those responses was 28 percent. While nearly everyone who thinks Trump is biased against black people also think that he’s handled race relations poorly, so, too, do nearly 4 in 10 of those who think that Trump is not biased against black people.
It’s impossible to know how past presidents might have fared on a similar metric. It’s safe to assume that perceptions of bias might have lingered to some extent around others, as well: Consider attitudes about President Barack Obama’s response to racial issues and Kanye West’s critique of George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina. What we know from our polling, though, is that perceptions of bias surrounding Trump don’t seem to have grown worse since he was elected president. And, of course, they didn’t stand in the way of his being elected in the first place.
Scott Clement contributed to this report.