In national 2024 Republican primary polls, former President Donald Trump has an average lead of more than 10 points over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. That isn’t important in and of itself because Trump, the frontrunner, has been far ahead of DeSantis, his closest competitor or possible competitor, since polling about the race began.

But the fact that Trump is ahead may be surprising. The average of polls released this week by CNN/SSRS and Quinnipiac University shows that Trump’s lead may be due in large part to his clear advantage among potential Republican primary voters of colour.

In an average of the two polls, Trump was ahead of DeSantis by 55% to 26% among Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters of color. The race was very close among White Republican voters, with Trump getting 38% and DeSantis getting 37%.I should point out that the CNN/SSRS and Quinnipiac University samples of people of colour add up to about 200 people. This isn’t a huge number, but it’s more than enough to say with a high degree of statistical certainty that Trump is ahead among them and doing better with them than with White Republicans.

Even though many Americans think of Trump as racist, the fact that he does much better with Republican voters of colour than with White Republican voters is a big surprise. I noticed that more Americans called Trump racist in 2019 than called George Wallace racist in 1968, when he ran for president on a segregationist platform.

But in another way, Trump’s strong showing with Republican voters of colour makes sense. Right now, the Republican primary race is dividing along class lines, just like it did in 2016.Trump’s supporters are Republican families who make less than $50,000 a year. In our CNN poll, he was 22 points ahead of DeSantis among this group of voters. He was 13 points behind DeSantis among GOP voters who made at least $50,000 a year. The difference in income between these two groups is 35 points.

Voters Of Color Are A Big Reason Trump Leads The Gop Primary

Republicans of colour are much more likely to have a household income of less than $50,000 a year than White Republicans. The CNN poll found that 45% of Republican voters of colour do, but only 28% of White Republican voters do. Trump is ahead among Republican voters of colour at a time when people of colour are joining the party in larger numbers. During the 2016 Republican primary season, 13% of Republican voters were people of colour. Now, they’re more like 18%. To put that in perspective, about 28% of people who could vote in the Republican primary are white and have a college degree. Trump has always had a hard time with educated White voters, even within his own party.

Even though voters of colour don’t make up nearly as much of the Republican party as White voters with a college degree, the difference isn’t that big. This means that if Trump does as well with Republican voters of colour as the polls suggest, it would be a good way to make up for the fact that he isn’t doing as well with White voters with college degrees.

Trump is doing better now with Republican voters of colour after doing much better with all voters of colour in the 2020 general election. Even though he still lost to Joe Biden by 45 points among them in 2020, this was better than his 53-point loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Other data also shows that Trump is doing better.)

Even though his lead among white voters shrunk between 2016 and 2020, Trump did better with voters of colour. In fact, Trump probably would have won the 2020 election if his support among white voters had dropped a little less from 2016 to 2020.In fact, the Republican Party has been getting better with voters of colour as a whole. In 2022, the party lost by 38 points among this group for the House of Representatives, which was 5 points better than in 2020. Exit polls showed that its lead among White voters stayed the same.

In other words: Changes among people of colour from 2022 to 2020 could have given Republicans the edge they needed to win back the House. In 2024, the question is whether or not voters of colour will keep moving towards the Republican Party and Trump in particular. If they do, it could be a big boost for both of them.