Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN)A new Quinnipiac University poll has a striking result: 49% of people said they believe President Donald Trump to be a racist while 47% believe he is not.
Pause and digest that: Half the country — HALF — thinks the elected President of the United States harbors racist views.
That’s a remarkable finding. Full stop.
Here are the two most obvious options.
1. This question, like all questions tied to Trump, is effectively a measure of whether you love or hate the President. So, 86% of Republicans say Trump isn’t a racist and 86% of Democrats say he is. Independents, who view Trump slightly more negatively than positively overall, have similar view on whether he is a racist: 50% say he is, 44% say he is not.
The “racist” numbers are not a direct facsimile of Trump’s overall approval numbers, of course. More people feel unfavorably about Trump’s job performance (55%) than say he is a racist (49%). But it’s close.
2. Trump has repeatedly played with racist and xenophobic language and sentiments — from suggesting Mexico is sending rapists and criminals to the United States to arguing the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville was a “both sides” issue to suggesting African-American Rep. Maxine Waters is a “very low IQ individual.”