President Donald Trump on Sunday boasted of his support among African-Americans by citing questionable polling data, two days before voters cast their ballots in a midterm election with historic implications for black candidates.
“New Fox Poll shows a ‘40% Approval Rating by African Americans for President Trump, a record for Republicans.’ Thank you, a great honor!” the president wrote on Twitter.
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Trump’s post is an apparent reference not to a survey by Fox News, but instead to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports featured in a Fox News segment on Sunday morning. That Rasmussen survey, a daily tracking poll from Oct. 29, showed that 40 percent of black respondents approved of the president’s performance. A Fox News poll from Oct. 17 found that 29 percent of all nonwhite registered voters approve of Trump’s job performance.
Rasmussen’s methodology is frequently questioned by mainstream pollsters, and its work has been accused of harboring a pro-Republican bias.
In a weeks-long slate of campaign rallies for Republican candidates ahead of Election Day, Trump has consistently bragged about low minority unemployment rates he claims are a byproduct of his administration’s economic policies. In August 2016, he memorably implored black voters to elect him president by asking, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump won only 8 percent of the black vote in the 2016 presidential election, while roughly 88 percent of black voters opted for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Among the many high-profile minority candidates vying for office on Tuesday, Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia is competing to become the nation’s first black female governor. Her Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, has been accused of trying to disenfranchise minority voters and has been the subject of multiple lawsuits related to limiting voting rights.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, could be elected Florida’s first black governor on Nov. 6. His opponent, former Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, was criticized for using racially loaded language in August when he called Gillum “articulate” and said voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Gillum governor.
On Saturday, a member of Trump’s Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, used the term “cotton-pickin’” at a rally for DeSantis to describe the importance of the state’s gubernatorial race.