Focus group: Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy

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As President Biden approaches the one-year mark of his presidency, some swing voters say his handling of the pandemic has left him vulnerable in their eyes.

  • But they see him as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to defending American democracy.
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Running news: These were key pieces from the latest Angious/Schlessinger swing-voter focus groups for Nerdshala, held on Tuesday, just days after the president’s January 6 anniversary speech.

Why this matters: Voters like him could be key to the 2022 midterm outcome, and his views on the president could color his enthusiasm for Democrats trying to maintain control of the House and Senate.

  • Earlier and further Biden’s approval ratings fall with voters, with lawmakers in both parties losing as much advantage as he can.

how it works: The two panels included 13 voters who remain on the battlefield and voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but Biden in 2020.

  • While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a survey, responses can reveal how some voters in important states are thinking and talking about current events.

Description: Nine in 13 said COVID-19 is the issue that worries them most, but only four in 13 said Biden is doing a “good or excellent” job of tackling the pandemic.

  • Only seven out of 13 said Biden’s strategy to increase testing and get more people vaccinated is effective. All 13 said they agreed with those who say the administration should adopt a new strategy of living with the virus indefinitely rather than trying to eradicate it.
  • But 10 of 13 voters after watching a clip of Biden’s January 6 speech criticizing the attack on democracy said the president gauged strength through his comments.
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What are they saying: “He was stronger than I believed him to be,” said Christine M., 55, of Deer Park, Texas. We can overcome this.”

  • Jerry M, 53, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, said Biden addressed last year’s behavior of rioters “with a little more force” than most of his public comments. “A little less ‘Sleepy Joe’, and a lot more leadership.”

Between the lines: Many participants sympathized with Biden’s efforts with the economy but were disappointed with the result.

  • Only one in 13 said they believed their support for government spending was making inflation worse, but eight in 13 said they were still very concerned about inflation.
  • Eleven out of 13 said they buy presidential argument One of the reasons for the high prices is that the market is dominated by a handful of large companies.
  • That gives them “free rein to raise prices, reduce choices for consumers, or exploit workers,” he said.

But, but, but: Frustration in Biden is not widely translating to wanting former President Trump back.

  • Of the 48 participants in groups from the past four months, only four said they would take him back in a fictional rematch.

Bottom-line: “Among Trump-to-Biden voters, there is virtually no ‘buyer’s remorse,’ but minimal ‘buyer’s enthusiasm’ for Biden”, said chairman Rich Thau Attractive, He conducted focus groups.

  • “Comparing Biden to Trump is like comparing a fifth-place team to a sixth-place team; Neither swing is popular among voters, but tends to edge out each other.


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