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Nevada's Diversity Could Favor Trump

Nevada is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country and in Tuesday’s Republican caucuses, that could favor Donald Trump.
Image: Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Las Vegas, Day Ahead Of State's GOP Caucus
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the South Point Hotel & Casino on February 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump is campaigning in Nevada for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the state's Feb. 23 Republican caucuses. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Nevada is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country and in Tuesday’s Republican caucuses, that could favor Donald Trump.

That idea may sound counter intuitive. After all, in polls Trump fares especially poorly with minority voters. In the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, only 13 percent of African Americans and 15 percent of Hispanics say they have positive feelings about the candidate. Among whites that figure is 31 percent.

But results from the South Carolina Republican Primary suggest he does pretty well in counties with large minority populations.

There are 28 counties in South Carolina where the white, non-Hispanic population is below the state average of 62.9 percent. Trump beat his state percentage in 25 of them. The other 18 counties, where the white, non-Hispanic population is above the average, he didn’t do as well.

In fact, Trump’s big victory in South Carolina, the most racially and ethnically diverse state to vote in 2016 so far, only emphasizes the point.

Minority communities are Trump communities. Or, at least, they are in Republican nominating contests.

That’s an important distinction to make because even as the racial and ethnic composition changes in the states holding Republican nominating votes, the composition of the Republican primary and caucus electorate does not – or at least it doesn’t change much.

In 2012, New Hampshire’s GOP primary voter composition was 99 percent white non-Hispanic. That may be expected in overwhelmingly white Granite State, but the Republican primary vote was 97 percent white non-Hispanic in Mississippi. That number was 94 percent in Georgia and 90 percent in, yes, Nevada.

So what does change? The communities around those voters. And the results in South Carolina seem to suggest that Republican primary voters who live in more diverse areas tend to vote for Trump.

That could have special significance in Nevada Tuesday evening when you consider how diverse that state is.

And beyond that, the most important county in Nevada, Clark, which holds 73 percent of the state’s population, is even more diverse than the state as a whole.

To be clear, the links between higher community diversity and higher numbers for Trump are not simple. There are factors beyond simple racial and ethnic composition.

For instance, polls consistently show that Trump does better with voters who have lower incomes and lower levels of educational attainment. Those high diversity counties in South Carolina also tend to have lower income and education levels.

But regardless of the reason, the larger point remained true, more diverse communities were better for Trump. That bodes well for the Trump campaign Tuesday night.