Working America's Latest Front Porch Focus Group Report Yields Crucial Insights into 2020 Battleground States
This week, we released our newest Front Porch Focus Group report, based on interviews with 1,153 working-class persuadable and Democratic-base voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We wanted to understand how these working class voters felt about Trump, progressive policy proposals and more in advance of the 2020 presidential election. These findings are complemented with results from our tracking survey following the same voters since summer 2016.
The report’s findings have serious implications for 2020 and beyond.
Here’s what we learned:
Fissures in Trump’s support emerge among the working class. One in four 2016 Trump voters (23%) do not back him, according to our online survey. When canvassers dug into the impact of Trump’s first term, most people said that it either made no difference or hurt their family. As Elizabeth, a 48-year-old from Bristol, Pennsylvania, explained, “I was a Republican, now I'm a Democrat. I just didn't like the way things were going under Trump's direction.”
The Democratic base is galvanized against Trump. In our online survey, 2016 Clinton voters and those base voters who skipped voting in 2016 say overwhelmingly (86%) they are unified behind whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be.
The Trump tax plan is remarkably unpopular. Our face-to-face conversations revealed that voters see unfair gains for the wealthy and concretely describe the resulting loss of income. Nathan, a 33-year-old man from Carleton, MI, explained, "He took away all of my travel benefits by not allowing workers to deduct work-related expenses like hotel costs. My tax returns used to be around $10,000 and last year it was $5,500." Connie, a 65-year-old in Bristol, Pennsylvania, said, “The 60K guy shouldn’t be paying as much as the rich guy.”
In 2020, persuadable voters in these key battleground states are as receptive to a wide range of progressive policies as the Democratic base. Persuadable voters supported policies that would make it easier to form a union, address climate change and expand the Affordable Care Act. The policy details of proposals matter less to these voters than their desire for action.