Independent voters in swing states are largely unenthusiastic about the 2020 Democratic candidates and are more amenable to President Donald Trump’s policies, according to a series of focus groups conducted by America First Policies (AFP), a pro-Trump nonprofit organization.
AFP conducted 18 focus groups in Charlotte, Columbus, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Des Moines, Orlando, Phoenix, and Miami over the past month about impeachment and the 2020 election. The individuals chosen for the focus groups were self-identified independent voters, were paid for their time, and did not know they were going to be talking about politics. (RELATED: Focus Group Finds Average Americans Don’t Know Or Care About Impeachment)
The individuals in the focus groups provided good news for the Trump campaign: they tend to support Trump’s policies, express deep skepticism toward socialism, and have largely negative reactions to the Democratic candidates. The one hangup for many of those voters are Trump’s tweets and his rhetoric.
“Personality is an issue [for Trump], but all of the complaints about the Dems are personality driven too,” a source close to AFP explained.
Indeed, with a few exceptions, the voters overwhelmingly characterized the Democratic frontrunners as crazy, old, or a socialist, according to a review of focus group footage by the Daily Caller.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was most commonly described by voters as “too old” and voters cited his memory issues and “creepy” behavior toward women, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was painted as a “liar,” a “socialist,” and “outspoken.” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was also considered “too old,” “socialist,” and “crazy” by voters.
“These groups don’t like the socialist vibe,” the AFP source said. “These people get up and go to work every day.”
The voters also recognized Biden, Warren, and Sanders as as the party’s frontrunners, revealing their relative distaste for the Democratic field.
“The Republicans had this same problem in 2015, they had 15 candidates and none of them were worth a bucket of spit. Democrats have the same problem,” one focus group member said, adding that he would vote against Trump if the Democrats fielded a good candidate. “I don’t like any of them.”
Another focus group member said some of the Democrats are “on another planet,” citing the Green New Deal-style climate policies.
“Crazy things. I’m going, are you kidding me? Are they high or what? They scare me,” they said.
The focus groups were particularly rankled by Democratic proposals to enact mandatory gun buybacks or other gun control measures, causing members to yell and talk over one another as they declared that the Democrats would not take away their firearms.
“I watched ten minutes of the Democratic debate and one of them talked about taking away guns and I said, ‘they just fucking killed themselves,'” one voter asserted. “Whose guns? Not mine, motherfucker.”
Voters were also concerned about medicare-for-all plans — although they may dislike their current plans and feel the system needs to be changed, they expressed fears that a government takeover of health care would lead to worse outcomes. The independents were vastly opposed to free health care for illegal immigrants, and seniors felt expanding Medicare to cover all people would negatively impact their own coverage.
Meanwhile, the voters expressed support for the booming economy under Trump, border security, the president’s tough stance on China, and his trade policies, admitting that they are okay with short term pain from tariffs if they lead to better outcomes for American workers in the long run. Suburban independent women, the focus groups found, are particularly enamored with Trump’s judicial nominations and his pro-life policies.
“We believe a light touch can get them to Trump,” a source close to AFP said of the voters represented in the focus groups. “These are people who like Trump’s policies, they just vent about his tweets and his rhetoric … we have to focus on substance over style.”
AFP also believes the focus groups reveal swing states being stacked in the president’s favor because they capture the effect of the “hidden Trump voter.” Several individuals in the groups, despite identifying as independent, admitted that they hide their support for Trump because they are afraid of a backlash from their neighbors, friends, or family. Pro-Trump groups and the campaign often point to these individuals as proof that national polls are always going to underestimate support for the president.