In 2016, Trump did modestly worse among white voters than Romney did in 2012. That is in part attributable to Gary Johnson–in a two-way race with Clinton, Trump fared as well as Romney did in a two-way race against Obama (according to official exit polling, he technically did 0.4% better than Romney!). Trump also did modestly better among black and Hispanic voters than Romney. This reality garbles the narrative in ways inconvenient for the pundit and consultant classes, so it’s mostly forgotten or ignored.
And though we’re still more than a year out from the next presidential election, general election polling is suggesting 2020 will continue the trend from 2016. Trump is doing worse among white voters in 2020 than he did in 2016, but he’s doing better among black and Hispanic voters in 2020 than he did in 2016.
The following graph shows exit polling data from 2012 and 2016 and general election results from SurveryUSA (N = 7,000) for 2020. The 2020 figures are for Trump vs Warren, who has clearly become the market’s top choice for the nomination in tandem with the corporate media’s anointment. The trends are the same with Trump matched up against Biden, albeit shifted a couple of points worse for the president in each case:
While the total white vote remained essentially unchanged between 2012 and 2016, its composition changed substantially. Trump swapped Romney’s strong support among middle- and upper-class whites for strong support among working-class whites. Trump’s rhetorical focus on working-class issues like manufacturing and illegal immigration could account for his modest improvement among blacks and Hispanics. Obama’s absence is another potential explanation, though it doesn’t cover the apparent shift from 2016 to 2020.