It’s not really fair to say that there was a racial undercurrent to President Trump’s recent comments disparaging Haiti, El Salvador and the nations of Africa as “shithole” countries while praising immigrants from mostly-white Norway. Using the word “undercurrent” would suggest something that was subtle or not obvious, which, given Trump’s extensive history of linking people of color to crime and negativity, is not how a Haiti-Norway comparison from him would immediately strike many Americans.
In November, The Washington Post and our polling partners at ABC News asked Americans if they believed that Trump was biased against black people. Did his words and actions outweigh his repeated assertions that he’s the “least racist person” you’ll ever meet?
At that point, 50 percent of Americans said that Trump held a racial bias against black people. In our new poll, that has risen to 52 percent, more than half, with the percentage saying that they strongly believe Trump to be biased rising from 36 percent to 40 percent.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a strong split by party in those numbers, with Democrats viewing Trump as biased and Republicans seeing him as not. More than half of independents think he is.
In this question we also see the consistent gender gap in opinions of Trump. More than half of women view him as biased. Among men, it’s a more even split. Overall, the gap between men and women on the belief that Trump is biased is 10 points.
Eight in 10 black Americans think Trump is biased against them, and nearly two-thirds of Hispanics say that he is as well. Among whites, though, a plurality of respondents said that they think Trump isn’t biased against black people.
As we saw often during the campaign, there’s a split between whites with and without college educations. Better-educated whites are more likely to view Trump as biased, with white women with college degrees believing that most strongly.
Overall, the upward shift since November is subtle. In some demographic groups, though, there was a significant increase, particularly among those who strongly believe that the president holds this bias.
Although whites still are more likely to say Trump isn’t biased than that he is, the percentage of whites saying they believed strongly that he’s biased increased 7 points since November. That was driven in part by a 10-point increase among those whites with college degrees. Democrats saw a similar increase.
Perhaps most worrying for Trump should be that there was a seven-point increase among registered voters who said that they strongly felt that Trump was biased. In November, about a third of registered voters held that position and 48 percent of them felt to some extent that he is biased. Now, more than 4 in 10 strongly believe him to be biased and more than half believe it to some extent.
Unsurprisingly, most of those who approve of Trump’s job performance don’t view him as biased. But many do: Ten percent of those who approve of him believe him to be biased against black people, including 7 percent of those who strongly approve. (Five percent of those who strongly approve of Trump also strongly believe that he’s biased against black people.)
If Trump is looking for good news from this poll question, that may be it: For some Americans, seeing Trump as biased against black people doesn’t keep them from supporting him as a president.