Top Five Dial Testing Takeaways from Michigan Swing Voters

Dialsmith is the technology partner and provider of the dial testing services for a closely followed, monthly Swing Voter Insights study being conducted by Engagious and Focus Pointe Global. These swing voter focus groups, which started this past March, are held every month up through Election 2020 in key swing voter districts across the Midwest and Florida. So, every month, we’ll be sharing our Top 5 Dial Testing Takeways from the latest focus group.

Our July group was held in Warren, Michigan and was made up of 12 participants—nine of whom voted for Obama in 2012 and then Trump in 2016, and three of whom voted for Romney in 2012 and then Clinton in 2016. They were asked a series of scale-based, discreet choice and moment-to-moment questions using our Perception Analyzer dials. The dial results revealed some results in common with our prior groups but there were some surprises as well. Here are our top takeaways from the Warren, Michigan swing voter dial results:

Takeaway #1 | The migrant crisis at the border is on the radar of these swing voters and the majority are siding with Trump.

The charts below paint a pretty clear picture of two things: 1) That the migrant crisis at the Southern border is top of mind with almost all of these swing voters; and 2) Most of these swing voters agree with Trump’s harder line towards the migrants.

Takeaway #2 | Despite what many of these swing voters see as Trump’s lack of professionalism, they are sticking with him.

Surprise here that a higher number of Romney-Clinton swing voters agreed that the economy (and not Trump’s behavior) will have a bigger impact on their vote. Meanwhile, filed under the “Not-so-surprising” category, a majority of these same Romney-Clinton voters are more than ready for a return to normalcy in the White House. Most of the Obama-Trump swing voters also feel the economy will weigh heavier on their vote than Trump’s behavior and most are likely to stick with him for another four years.

Takeaway #3 | Even after the first Democratic debates, most of the Democratic presidential candidates are still relatively unknown to these swing voters. 

They know Bernie. They know Joe. Everyone else is anyone’s guess. Swing voters were shown a photo of each of the Democratic presidential candidates and asked to rate their level of confidence that they could identify who each of the candidates was. Only Sanders and Biden topped 5 out of 10 on the confidence scale. The Dems still have work to do here.

Takeaway #4 | The majority of these swing voters support President Trump’s trade policies.

Tariff schmeriff. By and large, these swing voters agree with Trump’s hardline approach to trade registering an average score of 6.7 out of 10.

Takeaway #5 | The Democrats running for President are taking positions that swing voters see as too liberal which could dim the party’s chances in 2020.

As you can see in the dial results below, while some of the Democratic policy positions (like providing healthcare coverage for undocumented immigrants) might’ve garnered loud applause with audience at the debate. These policies do not receive the same level of enthusiasm from the Michigan swing voters. It’ll be interesting to see if the Democratic primary winner moves more towards the middle on any of these positions when the national election rolls around.

If you’d like to download the full report from the Erie swing voter group and/or view video highlights, visit the Swing Voter Insights page. And, of course, please let us know if you’d like to chat with our team about how we can help you find out what voters are thinking about anything from campaign speeches and ads to public policy messaging. Stay tuned for our top dial testing takeaways from next month’s Swing Voter Insights group as we head north for our first stop in the North Star State as we’ll be dialing in from wonderful Edina, Minnesota.