Talking Trump: St. Louis GOP Voters Focus on Policy and Personality

    How do Republicans in the Midwest perceive Donald Trump’s strengths and weaknesses? On March 22, 2016, a week after the Missouri GOP primary, Peter Hart gathered a dozen voters in St. Louis to discuss Trump’s candidacy.

    The group included five people who voted for Trump in the primary; the others either voted for his Republican opponents or are waiting for the general election.

    “To be competitive, Donald Trump must have this group’s votes,” wrote Hart and Corrie Hunt in their analysis. But almost everyone in the group expressed concerns about Trump as president, wanting him to act “more presidential,” tone down his rhetoric and attitude, and prove he can work well with others. Notably absent from their critiques was any mention of Trump’s policies — the group’s complaints focused solely on his personality, not his policy. On policy and ideology, they mostly found common ground.

    The focus group is part of the “Voices of the Voters” project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The goal is to provide qualitative insight into what issues are important to average voters, and what they are thinking and feeling about the ongoing race for the presidency and the state of the nation. The St. Louis group is the fourth conducted since the start of the 2016 election season, which have also been conducted in Ohio, Indiana, and Colorado.

    An analysis of the session from Peter D. Hart and Corrie Hunt can be found here. See below for a full video of the session:

    March 22, 2016 St. Louis, Missouri focus group


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