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NY Times focus group finds that “Biden has his work cut out for him to win over” undecided independent voter

by | Feb 14, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

What is that lawyers are taught never to do? “Never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer.”

Pretty good advice to journalists, too, especially when the conclusion is diametrically opposed to what you anticipated—and probably wanted.

The New York Times tells us that “For our latest Times Opinion focus group, we spoke with 13 undecided independent voters from across the country about how they see the two leading presidential candidates and explored some issues that might affect how they vote in November.” 

What did Patrick Healy, Margie Omero, and Adrian J. Rivera find? “To a striking degree, most of the participants tilted toward Mr. Trump, even though they disliked his personality.”

[Note that the headline is “Why This Group of Undecided Independent Voters Is Leaning Toward Trump.” “Leaning” would suggest Trump won over 7 or 8 of the 13 but the Times leaves us hanging.]

What are a few highlights of a fascinating focus group which ranged in age from 22 to 64? Why did they “lean” toward former President Trump in the first place?

First and foremost because they were “most worried about the economy and how their groceries and other bills were too costly.”  More about that below.

They were given “a list of five issues: the economy, immigration and the border, abortion and abortion rights, protecting democracy, and the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Which is most important to you in deciding how you’re going to vote for president?”

Nobody raised their hand to signal abortion was the most important issue. In fact 12 of the 13 said it was the economy which was largely shorthand for inflation and the price of housing.

What else does this focus group tell us?

The participants’ comments indicated that most did not feel they were in good hands with Mr. Biden or trust that they would be, using words like “senile,” “unfit” and “disingenuous” to describe him. And while the group viewed Mr. Trump negatively, some people suggested that the country was on its toes more with him in office.

“At least Donald Trump started a conversation. Sure, it was divisive, and sure, it really wasn’t the most productive, but it really highlighted problems and the divisiveness that was already hidden inside of our country,” said Yalena, a 22-year-old Latina from Alabama.

Conclusion? “If there was one take away it’s that Mr. Biden has his work cut out for him to win over these voters.”

If you get a chance read the transcript. In fact, you’ll see that Biden has a massive job ahead of him winning over the undecided independent.

Categories: Donald Trump