Top Five Dial Testing Takeaways from Ohio 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 this past March with new groups to be 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.

The latest stop on our swing voter focus group road tour took us to the heart of Rust Belt country… Youngstown, Ohio, and as you can imagine, the hot topic of conversation was impeachment. The focus group was made up of 11 swing voters: eight who voter for President Obama in 2012 and then President Trump in 2016, and three who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and then Hillary Clinton in 2016. They were asked a series of scale-based, and discreet choice questions using our Perception Analyzer dials. The dial testing revealed some expected results as well as a few surprises. Here are our top takeaways from the Youngstown, Ohio group:

Takeaway #1: Those that swung for Trump are balking on impeachment

While the national polls indicate that a majority of Americans now favor moving forward with impeachment proceeding, the Ohio swing voters, and in particular the Obama-Trump swing voters, are against it. Using the dials, we asked our focus group participants to rate a series of statements about impeachment on a scale from zero (“Totally Disagree”) to ten (“Totally Agree”), and here are the results listed in order from the widest discrepancy between the two groups of swing voters to the smallest discrepancy.

It’s evident from these results that those swing voters who voted for Trump in 2016 do not think impeachment is in the country’s or their best interest. While those who voted for Clinton feel it is. All the media coverage and revelations coming out of the impeachment investigation haven’t swayed these voters at all.

Takeaway #2: They believe Trump will win again

Regardless of who they voted for in the previous election, these swing voters expect President Trump to win re-election in 2020. When asked the question, “Imagine I gave you $100, and told you to place a bet with that money on the outcome of the 2020 election. Which candidate or party do you expect to win in 2020, and how confident are you in your expectation?” Participants responded on a scale of zero (totally confident that the Democratic candidate will win) to ten (totally confident President Trump will win). The average score for Obama-Trump voters was 8.8 and for Romney-Clinton voters, it was 6.0.

Takeaway #3: Obama-Trump voters have much more faith in the economy than Romney-Clinton voters

There’s a significant rift between these two sets on voters when it comes to their view on the economy. Using the dials, we asked our group to rate on a scale from zero (“gotten much worse”) to ten (“gotten much better”) how the economy has been since Trump became president. Per the graph below, Obama-Trump voters are fairly optimistic about the economy both for them and their family, as well as for the country. Romney-Clinton voters not so much. Notably, when asked, none of the swing voter participants have seen a notable increase in wages since Trump took office.

Takeaway #4: The Democratic challengers are (finally) becoming more recognizable

It’s taken a while, three primary debates to be exact, for swing voters to recognize who the democratic challengers to the president are. We asked participants to indicate with their dials their level of confidence in being able to identify the unlabeled photos of each of the Democratic candidates running for president with zero, meaning they have no idea who the candidate is, and ten, meaning they were totally confident. The numbers showing on the chart below are the highest out of the eight swing voter groups we’ve conducted so far.

Takeaway #5: Healthcare continues to be a problem for Trump

News is not so rosy for the president in regards to how swing voters feel about his record on healthcare. We asked these swing voters to rate how satisfied they are with the president’s efforts to ensure healthcare is affordable for them and their family. Using the dials, they rated their satisfaction on a scale from zero (“not at all satisfied”) to ten (“very satisfied”). Obama-Trump voters were just barely satisfied, scoring a 5.1. Romney-Clinton voters were strongly dissatisfied, scoring a 1.3.

If you’d like to download the full report from the Youngstown, Ohio swing voter group and/or view video highlights, visit the Swing Voter Insights 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 Insights group as our team heads to the state that will kick off the official primary season with a stop in Dubuque, Iowa.