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Poll: Trump Expected to Double 2016 African American Support if He Draws Buttigieg Challenge

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Daytona 500 NASCAR Race in Daytona Beach, Fla., February 16, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

President Trump would double the support he received from African American voters in 2016 if he ends up facing former South Bend., Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg in the upcoming election, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Friday.

Trump, who recorded eight percent of the African American vote against Hillary Clinton in 2016, hits 16 percent in the 2020 estimate against Buttigieg. Both men are tied with three percent of “enthusiastic” black voters — with Buttigieg having the lowest percentage of enthusiasm in the entire Democratic field.

Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt, told the Journal that Buttigieg has “simply not made a connection with African Americans,” and added that he thought Buttigieg would struggle “anywhere where African Americans are a chunk of the vote.”

A further breakdown of the vote by gender shows that African American women support Buttigieg overwhelmingly by an 87-6 margin over Trump. Among African American men, however, the margin shrinks to 59-29 in favor of Buttigieg.

Despite strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg has been dogged by weak support among minority voters.

In November, Buttigieg’s campaign made headlines for being “intentionally vague” in promoting endorsements from prominent black leaders in South Carolina as part of the rollout of Buttigieg’s “Douglass Plan for Black America.” ABC News reported on Tuesday that Buttigieg described how he had “proudly partnered” with two local restaurants in a South Carolina op-ed last week as part of investing in African American small businesses, only for one of the owners to say she had never agreed to be in a partnership.

The president featured African Americans prominently in his State of the Union address earlier this month, prompting CNN commentator Van Jones to issue a “warning to Democrats” that Trump was making a play for black voters.

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