By Mitchell Blatt*
Since Donald Trump was elected president, analysts have noted that Trump outperformed 2012 candidate Mitt Romney among minority voters. Some have used the datapoint to argue either that the Republican Party doesn’t need to make any changes to appeal to minorities, as was advised by a Republican leadership committee in the aftermath of 2012.
Missing from this analysis is that Romney had the worst performance among minorities voters of any Republican candidate since exit polls have been recorded. So Donald Trump only had the second worst performance among minorities.
For context, Bombs + Dollars looked at the exit poll data summarized by Cornell’s Roper Center since 1976 and added in the exit poll data from CNN for 2016 and graphed it.
The results show Trump earned the ninth lowest rate of black votes of any Republican candidate in the past 11 elections, the seventh lowest rate of Hispanic votes, and the sixth lowest rate of Asian-American votes in the past 7 elections (Asian vote wasn’t recorded prior to 1992).
The only two times the Republican candidate for president won less than the 8 percent of the African-American vote that Trump won were in 2008 and 2012, when Barack Obama, the first black president, ran as the Democrat. The Republicans did poorly among all minority groups in both 2008 and 2012, but even in 2008 McCain earned higher percentages of the Asian vote and Hispanic vote than did Trump, and Trump only barely beat Romney’s historically terrible showing. (Romney earned the lowest rate of Asian vote, second lowest rate of black vote, and eighth lowest rate of Hispanic vote.)
Before Obama, the GOP usually earned low double digits of the black vote (Reagan and Bush earned 9 percent one time each). Trump, with 8 percent of the black vote, earned less than any candidate since before Obama’s nomination.
Trump’s 29 percent of the Asian-American vote was only 2 points better than Romney’s historic low of 27 percent.
The Hispanic vote has been more variable. Trump easily beat Gerald Ford’s 18 percent in 1976 and Bob Dole’s 21 percent in 1996, but if he had matched George W. Bush’s performance, he would have won close to 2 million more votes, potentially winning the popular vote.
About the author:
*Mitchell Blatt moved to China in 2012, and since then he has traveled and written about politics and culture throughout Asia. A writer and journalist, based in China, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and a contributor to outlets including The Federalist, China.org.cn, The Daily Caller, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.