Four Dial Testing Takeaways from Florida Swing Voters

Dialsmith is the technology partner and dial testing services provider for the Swing Voter Project—an ongoing, national study being conducted by Engagious and Focus Pointe Global. The project features monthly focus groups set in key battleground districts across the Midwest and Florida. The first group was conducted in March 2019 with new groups held every month through the 2020 Election. Full summary reports and video clips from each group can be found on the Swing Voter Project page, but if you want to know what the top dial testing takeaways from the most recent swing voter focus group, you’ve come to the right place.

Our latest stop on our swing voter focus group road tour took us to Port St. Lucie, Florida. After spending the last 11 months bouncing around key swing districts in the Upper Midwest, a trip down to Port St. Lucie was a welcome change of scenery for our team. The Florida-18, of which Port St. Lucie is the largest city, went 53% for President Trump in 2016. So, our team was excited to see what the dials would turn up from our first group of Florida swing voters. The group was made up of eight participants who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. Participants were asked a series of scale-based, and discreet choice questions using our Perception Analyzer dials. Given the make-up of the group, the dial testing revealed some expected results as well as a few surprises. Here are our top takeaways:

Takeaway #1: These Swing Voters Embrace Trump and Expect Him to Win Again

The Port St. Lucie group all voted for Trump in 2016 and none seem to be showing signs of buyer’s remorse. When asked to rate whether they’d be likely to recommend to someone else that they vote for President Trump, they dialed an average of 8.9 out of 10 on a scale from zero (“not at all likely”) to 10 (“very likely). When asked to place a $100 bet on either President Trump or the Democrat nominee winning the 2020 election, the group dialed an average of 9.0 out of 10 on a scale from zero (“you are totally confident that the Democratic nominee will win the election) to 10 (“you are totally confident President Trump will win the election.”)

Takeaway #2: Overall, these Swing Voters Like the Direction the Country is Heading

When asked how they felt about the direction the country and Florida was heading, these swing voters, on average, were pretty happy.

Respondents rated the direction of our country and the direction of Florida on a zero to 10 scale (from “totally wrong direction” to “totally right direction”). Notably, swing voters are noticeably more satisfied with the direction of the country (7.1/10) than the direction of Florida (6.0/10). In follow-up discussions, we heard Florida could be “much more progressive” regarding education, the marijuana laws, healthcare, and “big sugar ruining our waterways.” Some feel their state representatives work for the lobbyists rather than the people. Also, we heard the cost of living is high and wages are too low.

Takeaway #3: These Swing Voters Believe the Economy is Booming and Give Trump Credit for It

With the unemployment rate at 3.6% nationally, nearly the lowest it has been in five decades, and the stock market hovering near an all-time high, seven of our eight swing voters believe the U.S. economy is “booming.”

Using the dials, respondents rated how the economy has been since Donald Trump became president on a scale from zero (“gotten much worse”) to 10 (“gotten much better”):

Swing voters are also doubtful the U.S. economy will enter a recession sometime in the next year, scoring it a 2.0 on a scale of zero (“no chance it will enter a recession”) to ten ( “we’re already in a recession”). They believe the U.S. economy is strong and their confidence in President Trump’s handling of it has increased over the last several months, scoring it an 8.6 on a scale of zero (“less confident in President Trump’s handling of the economy”) to ten (“more confident in President Trump’s handling of the economy”).

Takeaway #4: These Swing Voters View Healthcare as a Weak Spot for Trump But Think Medicare For All is Not the Answer

Swing voters are somewhat dissatisfied with President Trump’s efforts to ensure healthcare is affordable for them and their family, scoring it a 4.5 on a scale of zero (“not at all satisfied”) to ten (“very satisfied”). Those who are dissatisfied told us the cost of healthcare is still “extremely high” and President Trump could have done more to address the issue. Part of their frustration comes from the high cost of prescription drugs. They don’t find the president’s claim that drug prices are falling very believable. They rated the following statement on a scale of zero (“not at all believable”) to ten (“very believable”):

While a few swing voters are dissatisfied with President Trump’s job performance on healthcare affordability, only one swing voter told us it will be a voting issue for them in November. Most don’t believe that Medicare for All is the answer either.

Over the past several months, they have heard a moderate amount of news about Medicare for All, scoring it 4.1 on a scale of zero (“no news at all”) to ten (“a large amount of news”). But on average, they somewhat oppose eliminating private health insurance and replacing it with Medicare for All, scoring it 4.8 on a scale of zero (“totally oppose”) to ten (“totally support”). Even more telling is that seven of our eight swing voters could not vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 who calls for eliminating private health insurance and replacing it with Medicare for All.

If you’d like to download the full summary from the Port St. Lucie, Florida swing voter group and/or view video highlights, visit the Swing Voter Project page. You can also view the full series of dial testing results from the democratic debates on this YouTube channel.

If you’d like to chat with our team about how can help you find out what voters are thinking about anything from campaign speeches and ads to public policy messaging, please let us know. And please stay tuned for our top dial testing takeaways from next month’s Swing Voter Project group as our team heads south for a bit of warmer weather and our first visit to the key battleground state of Florida.