The results of a new focus group study of Michigan “swing” voters has Axios sounding the alarm over “major warning signs for the Democratic Party in a crucial swing county that will be a pivotal area to win in 2020.”
The voters, all of whom voted for Barack Obama before pulling the lever for Donald Trump in 2016, made clear during Axios’ Engagious/FPG focus group last week that they’re now fully on board the Trump train — particularly after the Democrats’ impeachment campaign.
Though Axios notes that the focus group, which included 10 voters who flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, obviously didn’t involve enough people to be scientific, it provided some rather stark insights into the minds of the voters who gave Trump a 1-point victory in Michigan’s Saginaw County after Obama won it by 12 points four years earlier.
Among the “big picture” takeaways from the Michigan swing voter focus group, Axios cites voters’ disgust with the Democrats’ impeachment efforts.
“These voters hate the fact that House Democrats are moving toward impeaching the president,” Axios explains. “They call it a distraction from the issues that would actually improve their lives, like preserving Social Security, cracking down on illegal immigration, and keeping jobs in the U.S.”
One of the voters, a 43-year-old male who backed Obama in 2012, said, “I think [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s] wasting a lot of [taxpayer] money on a ghost chase. The money she’s spending on that could go to help the homeless or go towards health care.” A 73-year-old offered a similar criticism about the Democrats. “Instead of working on policies and things that will help the people, they are just working to basically preserve their own position … [T]hey don’t really care about you and [me], I don’t think.”
The swing voters told those conducting the 2-hour focus group study that they credited Trump for the Republicans’ massive tax cuts, which has given them more money to direct to health care in particular. They also said that if the economy begins to go south or if there’s a “full-blown trade war with China,” they’ll even more strongly support Trump.
Another takeaway from the 2-hour study is that the swing voters “have virtually zero trust” in the media’s coverage of Trump.
Axios notes that the findings clash with “several other groups of Obama/Trump voters we’ve spoken with this year,” who said they felt turned off by Trump’s antics.
The “warning signs” in Michigan’s Saginaw County appear to be playing out on a larger scale in Rust Belt polling. A Firehouse Strategies’ survey of three crucial battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — released last week found Trump now leading all of the Democratic frontrunners in all three states. As is the case with the Engagious/FPG focus group, one of the key factors in the rising support for Trump and the declining numbers for Democrats appears to be a growing opposition to impeachment.
The poll found that in Michigan, Trump now leads Joe Biden by 5 points (46-41), Elizabeth Warren by 9 points (47-38), Bernie Sanders by 6 points (48-42), Pete Buttigieg by 11 points (48-37), and Michael Bloomberg by 11 points (48-37). In Pennsylvania, Trump beats Biden by 5 points (46-41), Warren by 7 points (47-40), Sanders by 10 points (48-38), Buttigieg by 6 points (46-40), and Bloomberg by 4 points (45-41). It’s even worse for Democrats in Wisconsin, where Trump now leads Biden by 9 points (48-39), Warren by 13 points (50-37), Sanders by 13 points (51-38), Buttigieg by 11 points (49-38), and Bloomberg by 14 points (49-37).