National polling shows Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump by double digits in the presidential race. But national numbers don’t mean much. With states like California heavily skewed to Biden, and Alabama skewed to Trump, we can all but ignore wide swaths of the nation and zero in on the battleground states.
One pundit who deals with focus groups has a surprising message: People in key areas still favor Trump, and that could make the difference in the election.
Rich Thau works with focus groups, which by definition are small groups of people and not nationally representative sample groups. Thau points out that focus groups often uncover preference changes before they show up in larger surveys. He has been working with small groups in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other swing states that voted for Obama in 2012 and then Trump in 2016 for more than a year and found something very interesting. Trump’s supporters are still with him.
According to Thau:
“They think a businessman is best suited to turn the country around economically.They feel Covid-19 was not Trump’s fault, and he’s doing the best he can to contain it. They conflate the Black Lives Matter protesters with the rioters attacking federal buildings and retail shops.They don’t want historic monuments torn down. And they dismiss defunding the police as ridiculous.”
“These voters tell me they want America finally to be put first; they oppose immigration and trade policies they say give benefits to foreigners at their expense. And they want a non-politician who relentlessly fights back, after witnessing too many office holders fold in the face of special interests.”
That being said, Thau is quick to point out that these voters could easily swing to Biden and can’t be counted on as Trump voters in November, although that seems at odds with their views. If they support the president up through today, it seems unlikely they’d change their mind over the next 100 days.