You are on page 1of 26

April 2017

Post-Election Research: Persuadable


and Drop-off Voters
Research findings prepared for Priorities USA
by Global Strategy Group & Garin Hart Yang

1
Methodology

1 Focus Groups 2 Obama- Trump Survey

GSG and GHY conducted two focus GSG and GHY conducted a survey of 801
groups in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on registered voters who voted for Donald
Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in
January 26th, two in Southfield,
2012 from January 31st to February 4th,
Michigan on January 28th, and two in 2017.
Tampa, Florida on January 29th, 2017.
3 Drop-off Voter Survey
In each set of groups, one group was
conducted with Obama-Trump voters GSG and GHY conducted a survey of 803
and one with turnout targets registered voters nationwide from
(millennials in WI & FL and African March 31st to April 5th, 2017,
conducting interviews with 401
American voters in MI who voted for
midterm drop-off voters (voted for
Obama but did not vote in 2016). Clinton in 2016 but did not vote in 2014)
and 402 presidential drop-off voters
(voted for Obama in 2012 but did not
vote in 2016).

2
Understanding Drop-off and Persuadable
Voters

3
Key Findings: Persuadable and Drop-off voters

A key commonality between turnout voters and Obama-Trump voters is that they
are struggling economically.
Clinton and Democrats economic message did not break through to drop-off or
Obama-Trump voters, even though drop-off voters are decidedly anti-Trump.
Drop-off voters already believe that Trumps policies will benefit the wealthy over
other groups, but there is more work to be done to convince Obama-Trump voters that
this is the case.
Ensuring corporations pay their fair share of taxes, modernizing infrastructure, and
increasing the development of renewable energy are seen as economically beneficial
by both groups.
Health care is a critical motivator for both Democratic drop-off voters and
persuadable Trump voters.
Both groups identify cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other healthcare programs as
policies that would have a very bad effect on them personally.
Among drop-off voters, items related to health care (increasing costs for seniors,
cutting important programs, and millions of Americans losing coverage) are frequently
rated as very major concerns.
4
Both drop-off and Obama-Trump voters feel their income is falling behind
the cost of living and few are very satisfied with the state of the economy
How satisfied are you with the state of the US economy today?
Very satisfied Somewhat satisfied DK/Refused Somewhat dissatisfied Very dissatisfied

Drop-off Voters 10 47 25 15

Obama-Trump Voters 16 37 34 13

Income Relative to Cost of Living


Income going up faster than Income staying about even with the Income falling behind the
the cost of living cost of living/DK cost of living

Drop-off Voters 8 49 43

Obama-Trump Voters 19 31 50

More presidential drop-off voters feel their income is falling behind the cost of living (46%), on
par with Obama-Trump voters (50%).
5
Obama-Trump Voters In Depth

6
Obama-Trump voters were drawn to Trump more on his business persona than on
his issue stands especially ambivalent Trump backers

Which of the following was more important to you in deciding to vote for Donald Trump?

His background as a businessman and His stand on policies and


the fact that he is not a typical politician Both equally issues that matter to you
Overall 39 37 24
Strongly supported DJT 34 38 28
Mixed feelings about DJT 43 37 20
Would you say that your vote for president was more a vote FOR Donald Trump, more a vote against
Clinton, or both equally?

More a vote FOR Trump Both equally More a vote AGAINST CLINTON
Overall 48 22 30
Strongly supported DJT 75 17 8
Mixed feelings about DJT 21 26 53

7
Trump supporters prioritize Social Security, Medicare, and jobs
but only strong supporters prioritize immigration and trade
Priorities for the President and Congress
Strongly Mixed
Extremely important Not important Supp. Feelings

Protecting Social Security for senior citizens 57 28 15 61 54


Protecting Medicare for senior citizens 55 30 15 58 52
Creating good paying jobs for American workers 50 34 16 50 50
Making sure that all Americans have access to
affordable health insurance 50 30 20 55 45
Cleaning up corruption in gov't 48 37 15 52 44
Cracking down on the outsourcing of American jobs 46 35 19 53 39
Making sure that wealthy pay their fair share of taxes 45 35 20 45 45
Keeping Wall Street in check 44 35 21 44 43
Deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally 40 30 30 50 31
Cracking down on unfair foreign trade 38 39 23 46 30
Reducing the influence of special interests/lobbyists 37 39 24 40 34
Making sure that women are treated fairly
in the workplace 36 37 27 36 37
Modernizing America's infrastructure 35 38 27 41 29
Maintaining environmental protections 32 35 33 34 29
8
Building a wall along the US border with Mexico 29 27 44 43 15
Persuadable voters believe Trump will help the middle class over the
wealthy, but dont feel the same about Congressional Republicans
Do you think Donald Trumps economic policies will favor.?
The wealthy All groups equally The middle class The poor
Overall 21 44 33
Strongly supported DJT 16 48 33 3
Mixed feelings about DJT 26 40 33
Do you think Congressional Republicans economic policies will favor.?
The wealthy All groups equally The middle class The poor
Overall 40 31 26 3
Strongly supported DJT 29 38 29 4
Mixed feelings about DJT 50 25 24
Do you think Congressional Democrats economic policies will favor.?
The wealthy All groups equally The middle class The poor
Overall 42 16 23 19
Strongly supported DJT 47 14 20 19
Mixed feelings about DJT 38 18 25 19
9
As we start to move voters away from Trump, we have a solid base
of Obama-Trump voters to target in our efforts
Have the things you have seen, read, or heard recently made you feel more confident, or less confident,
that Donald Trump will do a good job?
MORE Confident No Difference LESS Confident

Overall 65 23 12
Strongly supported DJT 85 13

Mixed feelings about DJT 45 34 21


Do you have confidence, or doubts, that Donald Trump will do a good job as president?

Confidence Somewhere in between Doubts


Overall 62 29 9
Strongly supported DJT 89 9

Mixed feelings about DJT 35 49 16

10
Weak supporters in particular seek Congressional leadership that will
act as a check against Donald Trump
When it comes to electing people to Congress, would you prefer to elect?

Check and balance on Trump Work with Trump

Overall 36 64

Strongly supported DJT 19 81

Mixed feelings about DJT 53 47

11
Cutting benefits, driving up consumer costs, and repealing Obamacare
without replacing it are especially concerning to cautious supporters
Trump Concerns
Strongly Mixed Non-
Concerns me Just some Does not concern me Supp. Feelings College College
He will make too many cuts to important
programs that seniors and working people 51 22 27 46 55 50 52
depend on, like Medicare/Medicaid
The large tax on imports he has proposed
will raise the costs of things that American 41 27 32 35 48 39 47
consumers buy
He will repeal Obamacare and not come up 38 21 41
with a plan to replace it 31 46 37 40
His administration is full of corporate
executives who will put their interests 38 26 36 31 44 39 35
ahead of working people
He will not show the temperament,
judgement, and self-control required 38 22 40 30 47 37 44
He will get the US involved in foreign wars 38 24 38 32 45 38 39
His policies will go too far in favoring the
wealthy over working people 38 22 40 32 45 36 43
He will reduce Americas credibility around
the world by saying things that arent true 35 21 44 28 43 34 38
He will go too far in rolling back access to
legal abortion and affordable 33 19 48 29 37 32 37
comprehensive healthcare for women
He will be too close to Putin and wont
stand up to Putin 31 21 48 28 34 28 39
12
To win back cautious Trump supporters, we should tie Trump to GOP policies
that put the interests of the wealthy/businesses before the middle class and
programs they rely on such as Medicare and Social Security
Which one or two of the following outcomes from Trumps term as president would bother you the most?

If he didnt save Medicare and Social Security


Overall 49
and instead cut benefits for those programs.
Strongly Supported DJT 48
Mixed Feelings about DJT 51
If he didnt give the power back to the people 37
and instead put the interests of wealthy elites 31
and big businesses first. 43
If he didnt put American jobs first and instead 33
made it easier for big businesses to outsource 32
jobs. 33
If he didnt drain the swamp and instead put 18
lobbyists, campaign donors, and special interests 16
in charge of his administration. 20
If he didnt make Mexico pay for the border 13
wall between the United States and Mexico, and 18
instead taxpayers ended up footing the bill. 8
5
None of these would bother me 8
2
13
Drop-off Voters In Depth

14
Democratic-leaning drop-off voters have favorable opinions of their party
and are very unfavorable to Trump and the GOP
Favorability of the Political Parties
Favorable Neutral/DK Unfavorable

The
Overall 73 18 9
Democratic Midterm 75 29% very favorable 17 8
Party
Presidential 70 28% very favorable 20 10

Overall 5 18 77
The
Republican Midterm 4 15 55% very unfavorable 81
Party Presidential 7 19 47% very unfavorable 74

Overall 8 8 84
Donald
Trump Midterm 7 7 75% very unfavorable 86
Presidential 9 9 73% very unfavorable 82
15
Many voters who decided not to vote last minute offered excuses for their
behavior, while those who decided not to vote in advance felt ambivalent or
negative toward both candidates
Timing of Decision to Not Vote & Reason for Not Voting (Presidential Drop-off Voters)

Decided not to vote in Decided not to vote at


advance of Election Day Some of both the last minute

36 25 39
I did not like either candidate I couldnt get off work in time to vote

I think both candidates were not a good fit for I didnt receive my absentee ballot
president
Tired of voting for the lesser of two evils
I felt everyone was voting the same way I was
in my area so I felt it didnt matter I wanted more time to think about Trump and
Clinton
I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary; I
couldnt support Clinton for the general I got sick and could not vote
election
The polls were too busy and I could not vote
It makes no difference
I was having trouble walking and I heard that
Neither candidate was trustworthy the lines were long
16
Drop-off voters including midterm drop-off voters say the 2018 elections
will have a bigger impact on their lives than Trumps election in 2016
Impact of Trump Presidency

Has had a big impact Has had a small impact Not sure Has had no impact

Overall 32 27 4 37
Midterm 34 30 4 33
Presidential 31 25 4 41

Impact of 2018 Election

Will have a big impact Will have a small impact Not sure Will have no impact

Overall 46 32 9 13
Midterm 45 35 9 10
Presidential 46 29 10 15

17
Groups that feel the impact of the 2016 election less strongly men, millennial
voters, and African American voters also recognize what is at stake in 2018
Impact of 2018 Election
2016
Gap
Will have a big impact Will have a small impact Not sure Will have no impact Big Impact
Overall 46 32 9 13 32 +14

Men 41 37 5 17 24 +17
Women 49 29 12 10 38 +11

18-34 53 31 8 8 32 +21
35-49 47 31 10 12 42 +5
60-64 45 33 8 14 30 +15
65+ 32 34 13 21 22 +10

White 49 30 9 12 34 +15
African American 45 29 8 18 26 +19
Hispanic 44 39 11 6 37 +7

18
Midterm drop-offs are slightly more motivated and enthusiastic about
voting than presidential drop-offs, though both favor Democrats in a
generic ballot for Congress
Motivation/Enthusiasm about Voting

Extremely (9-10)/Somewhat (6-8) motivated DK/Refused Neutral/Not motivated (0-5)

Overall 58 22 2 18
Midterm 61 23 1 15
Presidential 56 22 2 20

Generic Ballot for Congress

Democratic candidate Lean Democratic candidate Undecided/Refused Republican

Overall 80 7 13
Midterm 82 8 10
Presidential 79 6 14

19
Unlike Obama-Trump voters, drop-off voters overwhelmingly believe that
Trump and Republicans policies favor the wealthy over other groups
Do you think Donald Trumps economic policies will favor.?
The wealthy All groups equally/DK The middle class The poor
Drop-off voters 92 5

Obama-Trump voters 21 44 33
Do you think Congressional Republicans economic policies will favor.?
The wealthy All groups equally/DK The middle class The poor
Drop-off voters 90 4 4
Obama-Trump voters 40 31 26

Do you think Congressional Democrats economic policies will favor.?

The wealthy All groups equally/DK The middle class The poor
Drop-off voters 11 38 39 12
Obama-Trump voters 42 16 23 19
20
Making sure corporations pay their fair share and strengthening infrastructure,
wage laws, and renewable energy are seen as economically beneficial
Economic Policy Effects
Net Good
Very/Somewhat good Wouldnt have Bad for people Drop-off Obama-
for people like you much effect/DK like you Overall Trump Gap
Making sure corporations pay their fair share of taxes 69 18 9 87 71 +16
Repairing and modernizing our country's infrastructure 67 22 7 89 72 +17
Increasing the development of renewable energy 64 17 16 81 64 +17
Strengthening wage laws 62 17 17 79 61 +18
Cutting interest rates for federal student loans 60 12 25 71
Providing training, apprentice programs for workers 57 21 20 79 61 +18
Raising taxes on millionaires/wealthiest Americans 57 18 18 7 75 61 +14
Reducing taxes on middle class/working families 57 25 12 6 82 81 +1
Offering paid leave/tax credits for child care 53 20 24 73 47 +26
Offering free tuition at public colleges/universities 53 24 19 76
Cracking down on employers not paying workers in full 53 12 22 13 64
Closing corporate and Wall Street tax loopholes 45 18 24 13 63
Creating a national health plan/single-payer plan 44 24 22 10 68
Reducing taxes on small businesses 38 33 23 6 71 63 +8
Leaving the Affordable Care Act in place as is 34 31 25 10 66
Establishing path to citizenship for undocumented 34 27 27 12 61
Re-negotiating our trade deals with other countries 26 34 25 15 59 67 -8
21
Cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid, reducing regulations on
businesses, and turning Medicare into a voucher system are seen as the
least beneficial economic policies
Economic Policy Effects

Net Bad
Good for Wouldnt have Very/Somewhat bad Drop-off Obama-
people like you much effect/DK for people like you Overall Trump Gap

Cutting spending on Medicare/Medicaid 15 10 14 61 75 56 +19

Reducing regulations on businesses 23 16 15 46 61 31 +30

Turning Medicare into a voucher system 15 26 14 45 59 42 +17

Allowing construction of more oil/gas pipelines 23 26 19 32 51

Lowering taxes on American corporations 24 30 21 25 45 21 +24

Stopping illegal immigration/deporting immigrants 20 38 22 20 42 9 +33

Increasing taxes on foreign goods 40 20 26 14 40 19 +21

22
Drop-off voters are deeply unfavorable to Donald Trump and volunteer
his presidency as the most important issue facing the country today
Most Important issue Facing the Country Today (OPEN END)

Donald Trump
Midterm 17
Presidential 14
Health care 16
14
Economy/jobs 12
10
Climate/environment 9
7 "Donald Trump's lack of qualifications and lack of
Foreign policy/relations/Russia 6 integrity. People in Congress who are supporting
5 him and not exercising any oversight.
Race issues/racism 5 Presidential drop-off voter
5
Income inequality/poverty/homelessness 6
3 Health insurance is the biggest problem. We need
Immigration 5 more good people in congress.
3 Midterm drop-off voter

Divided nation 4
3
The environment which I see as a national security
Education/Schools 1 issue. Climate refugees are going to create a crisis.
5 Presidential drop-off voter
Terrorism/National security 2
3
23
Of Trumps main issue positions, Trumps health care policies are
the most concerning to drop-off voters
Which two, if any, are the most concerning to you personally about Donald Trump and his administration?

Midterm 52 57% among voters 50+


His positions on health care 57% among non-college voters
Presidential 54 61% among AA voters

49% among women


His positions on women's rights, 44 58% among women under 50
abortion, and gender issues 52% among college-educated white men
41 50% college-educated white women

39 49% among Hispanic voters


His positions on immigration
43% among millennials
33

His positions on foreign 30


policy and terrorism 31

24
His positions on taxes and the budget
26

24
Reaching Persuasion & Turnout Targets

25
Four Key Points on How to Reach Target Voters

1. Social Media feeds, especially Facebook, came up as a critical source of


news across all focus groups, persuasion and turnout.

2. Strong Obama-Trump voters consume a greater amount of partisan news


than soft Obama-Trump voters.
55% of strong supporters are regular talk radio listeners (vs. 36% of soft supporters)
43% of strong supporters list Fox News as a key sources (vs. 34% of soft supporters)

3. Strong Obama-Trump voters are also much more tuned in than soft
supporters and turnout targets
36% of strong supporters follow DC news very closely vs. 19% of soft supporters

4. Obama-Trump voters were more skeptical than average focus group


respondents and didnt open up until we told them they were among
fellow Trump voters.

26