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Greg Bluestein

AJC poll: 5 percent of black Georgia voters support Donald Trump

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in these 2016 AP file photos.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in these 2016 AP file photos.

Georgia GOP minority engagement guru Leo Smith once predicted that Donald Trump can “easily” get 20 percent of black voters. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s poll shows just how daunting that task will be.

Some 5 percent of black Georgia voters said they would vote or lean toward voting for Trump and running-mate Mike Pence. About 84 percent have an unfavorable view of the New York businessman and just 7 percent give him a positive review. By contrast, the poll shows three-in-four black voters give high marks to Clinton – and nearly 90 percent approve of President Barack Obama.

Black voters in Georgia have long voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, and Gov. Nathan Deal considered it a major victory when his polls showed him cracking double-digit support among African-Americans in 2014. But Trump’s allies say Smith’s goal is attainable, and several high-profile black Republicans in Georgia have been tasked with beefing up his support.

Bruce LeVell, a Dunwoody jeweler, is head of Trump’s national diversity coalition and travels around the nation stumping for the candidate. Smith, the Georgia GOP operative, dismissed talk that Georgia could turn blue in November as “wishful thinking.” And the newest member of the effort is Ashley Bell, a former Democratic official tapped last week to head the Republican National Committee’s black political engagement efforts.

“We are doubling down on the African-American vote,” he said. “The Democratic Party hasn’t had the answers. I go into urban areas where the Republicans haven’t been elected to anything, not even dogcatcher, and ask: Why not hear us out?”

More: Meet Ashley Bell – the Georgian charged with bringing black voters to the GOP

More: Read all about the AJC poll’s wide-ranging findings here.

More: An interactive look at all the results and crosstabs here.