Great Britain

2020 US election: Majority of Americans think Trump is ‘divisive, dangerous and racist’

A majority of US adults think that Donald Trump is a “racist, divisive and dangerous” leader who is damaging America, according to new polling data shared exclusively with The Independent.

In a poll of 5,500 people across the US last month, some 58 per cent said that the president was “divisive and dangerous” and 57 per cent believe he is a racist.

Feelings towards Mr Trump were largely influenced by party allegiance, according to the sweeping poll conducted by HOPE not Hate (Hnh), an anti-extremism non-profit.

Only 8 per cent of the president’s supporters see him as “divisive and dangerous”, while 92 per cent believe he is a strong leader and “making America great again”.

Some 83 per cent of Trump supporters deny that the president is a racist. On the other hand, some 17 per cent of Trump followers do believe he is racist, according to survey, but it remains unclear whether those supporters will vote for him regardless.

On the other side of the political sphere, 90 per cent of Biden supporters believe that Trump is dangerous, divisive and a racist.

During the last presidential debate, Mr Trump declared himself “the least racist person in the room".  But his history of race-baiting comments and behavior both before, and since, he took the nation’s highest office tells a different story. 

He has refused to apologize for the four full-page ads he took out in New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the “Central Park Five”, the five Black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of the brutal rape of a woman out jogging.

Before entering politics, Mr Trump, and first lady Melania, peddled in “birtherism” lies about the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, questioning Hawaii-born Mr Obama's citizenship.

Following a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman who was counter-protesting was killed, the president responded that there was “blame on both sides”.

The majority of US adults from minority groups view President Trump as a racist, according to new polling shared exclusively with The Independent

More recently he has referred to the coronavirus pandemic as the  “Chinese Virus” or “Kung Flu”. And during the appalling first presidential debate, Mr Trump told the Proud Boys, a violent, far-right group to “stand back and stand by” when he was asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.

Nick Lowles, CEO of HOPE not hate, told The Independent: “It's no surprise that the majority of people think that Trump is the Divider-In-Chief. Reactionary groups, activists and politicians from across the world flocked to his cause. He has promoted racists, implemented discriminatory policies, demonised immigrants, separated children from their parents, refused to condemn the far-right and capitalised on the culture war. 

"The question the world is waiting to see answered next week is whether Trump's vision for America has finally faded in the eyes of those who originally looked to him to take the country in a new direction." 

Opinions on Mr Trump vary wildly in different segments of the electorate.

Women are slightly more likely to view Mr Trump as divisive and dangerous at 60 per cent of those polled, compared to men (55 per cent). Young people and those who live in cities are also more likely to disapprove of him compared to older people and those in rural America.

Some 59 per cent of those in completely rural areas and 55 per cent of those living in mainly rural areas believe Trump is not racist, according to the poll.

However across all age groups of those surveyed, there is not a single majority of people who believe that Mr Trump is not a racist.

There are mixed attitudes to Mr Trump along racial lines. Three in 10 African Americans and Latinos view Trump as a strong leader who is "Making America great again”, while 24 per cent and 32 per cent respectively do not consider him a racist.

On race relations, Trump voters are three times more likely (68 per cent) than Biden voters (23 per cent) to think that white people are as discriminated against as much as people of colour.

Six out of ten Trump voters reported being “very worried” about the radical left, while Biden voters are more likely to be “very worried” about militias and white supremacists (58 per cent).

Over the last few weeks, HOPE not hate has polled a total of 15,500 US adults with 80 questions on a range of political, cultural and attitudinal issues.

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