Milwaukee Swing Voters Discuss the 2016 Presidential Candidates

    On August 25, pollster Peter Hart brought together a focus group of a dozen swing voters in Milwaukee to discuss their opinions of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and their general views of the election and the state of the country.

    The group was made up of men and women who do not feel bound by party lines and have each voted for at least one Democrat and one Republican since 2000. A common theme that emerged, Hart notes, is that they “are not voting for someone they want to be president, but against someone they do NOT want to be president.” Hillary Clinton is ahead with these voters, but the lack of trust they have for her remains an issue. When asked what scent comes to mind when they think of this election, the group of voters offered up a range of options including “sulfur,” “skunk,” and “garbage.”

    While they may not trust Clinton, they see Trump as a “risk candidate” and prefer Clinton as the “safer choice.” Hart sees similarities between this election and the 1980 election, when many voters needed reassurance that GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan could be a “safe choice”: “This year, a lot of voters know they do not want Donald Trump as president, but they need to know that they can ‘live with’ Hillary Clinton for the next four years.”

    Hart said he convened the group in Milwaukee because it is on the front line of many of the issues and challenges in America this election season.

    The “Voices of the Voters” project aims to provide a qualitative sense of what voters are thinking and feeling, and what issues are important to average citizens. Sessions for this election cycle have also been conducted in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Colorado. To read an analysis with key findings of the session from Peter Hart and Corrie Hunt, click here. See below to watch a full video of the focus group session.

    Milwaukee focus group on August 25, 2016

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