Engagious | Axios Swing-Voter Focus Groups: The Inside Scoop Part 2

9/11, Climate Change, Women in Congress, Football—and more.

In conjunction with media company Axios, Engagious conducted dial tests in Canton, Ohio, with 12 swing voters: six Romney-Clinton voters, and six Obama-Trump voters. Rich Thau, Engagious president, moderated. (To receive a written write up of results, go here.)

To see how Axios interpreted the research, take a look at their article here. 

We looked at some of their thoughts about voting and President Trump in Part 1.  Now for their thoughts on the economy, trade, football, and more:

10. Most believe September 11 is being commemorated appropriately

Eight of 12 respondents believed America is doing the right amount to commemorate September 11. Three of 12 believed we should move on from September 11 because it was a long time ago. One told us we should be doing more.

Those who said we should move on from September 11—it was a long time ago—said we mourned and should move on, but we should not forget. Some compared it to having a “grieving period” like after the loss of a family member, and said they feel we have had our grieving period.

Given a choice of four threats—illegal immigration, terrorists from overseas, an attack from a country with nuclear weapons, and a domestic mass shooter—eight of the 12 respondents said terrorists from overseas remain a first or second concern.

11. Booming economy? Where?

We asked respondents on a zero-to-10 scale how much better or worse the economy has gotten for them and their family under President Trump, and how it’s performed for America overall. Zero means much worse; 10 means much better. For them and their families, the overall average was 5.8. For America overall, the average score was 6.0.

Significantly, only three of 12 respondents agree the U.S. economy is “booming.” In the group, some said they are still living paycheck to paycheck. One “Obama-Trump” male respondent remarked: “I don’t feel that it’s booming. It’s booming for a certain demographic. I don’t think it’s booming for most people. I think the people that are extremely wealthy are benefiting the most, and for me, it’s not [beneficial].”

For both types of voters, the Federal tax cuts signed into law last December have been only slightly positive for them and their families, averaging 5.3/10 overall.

12. Much stronger support for NAFTA renegotiation than for new tariffs

“Obama-Trump” voters were much more supportive of the President’s trade policies than “Romney-Clinton” voters. The “Obama-Trump” voters scored their support for NAFTA renegotiation at 7.5, and for new tariffs on overseas goods at 6.2; the “Romney-Clinton” voters expressed their opposition to NAFTA renegotiation with a score of 4.2; new tariffs on overseas goods scored at 3.3.

We learned the generally lower scores for new tariffs were due to the complexity of dealing with dozens of countries overall (as opposed to the ease of dealing with just two others with NAFTA); concerns about higher prices in the U.S.; and questions about our ability to start making things in the U.S. Supporters for higher tariffs would like to see less dependence on countries such as China, whose products are viewed to be often dangerous and inferior.

13. Big gap on climate change attitudes

“Romney-Clinton” voters strongly agreed (8.2 on a zero-to-10 scale) that “Compared to when you were much younger, the weather in recent years seems weird” and “Compared to when you were much younger, summers in America seem hotter.” (7.0). “Obama-Trump” voters’ scores on those two statements, by contrast, were 4.5 and 3.3, respectively.

Overall, in the group, nearly all respondents agreed that human activities are affecting the climate in some way.

“Romney-Clinton” voters thought President Trump should be taking climate change more seriously and promoting more clean energy solutions. “Obama-Trump” voters modestly disagreed.

14. In the birthplace of the NFL, and the hometown of the Football Hall of Fame, having NFL players “take a knee” caused a six-six split among respondents (but not by prior voting behavior)

Respondents offered very different views on the protests. One in favor said this:

“It’s not a disrespectful form [of protest]. It’s bringing awareness to the fact that there are people being gunned down in the streets. There is clearly a race issue in this country. That’s why Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee to say, ‘I’m not disrespecting the flag or the military. I’m actually trying to bring awareness to people and give them information about something that’s happening to the people that I align with.’” – “Romney-Clinton” Female

One opposed said this:

“I strongly disagree. I come from a military family. I am a former soldier. . . . If I would do that at my job, I would not be carrying my license. I think there’s a time and a place for that. I just think it’s very inappropriate. It’s not the right place. I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s absolutely correct; it’s the correct thing, but not then [at an NFL game].” – “Obama-Trump” Female

Whether they agreed or disagreed, most weren’t troubled by Nike giving Colin Kaepernick a contract to represent the “Just Do It” campaign.

15. Widely divergent views on whether the media is the “enemy of the people.” What’s nearly uniform was the belief that President Trump should stop saying it

Respondents ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with little uniformity based upon prior voting behavior. One “Obama-Trump” male complained: “They’re not putting out the news. They’re generating the news. They’re manipulating the news, and they’re fabricating the news. You can’t trust them.”

But one “Romney-Clinton” male disagreed: “I think it is freedom of the press. I think it’s important to be informed. It’s important to gather news from various sources because I know if I turn on MSNBC and I watch Rachel, I know where she is. If I turn on Fox, it’s like it’s two different universes, but I know that. . .  Information should never be the enemy.”

Yet when asked whether the President would be better off not saying that the media is the enemy of the people, almost all agreed. One explained, “What good does it do?” Another said, “It’s like crying wolf.”

Four of the respondents said they get some news from Facebook, but none said it’s their primary source. None of them would describe Facebook as “news source.”

To get the write up of results, go here.