Veteran pollster Peter D. Hart and his team at Hart Research Associates conducted their final focus group of the tumultuous 2016 election cycle in Cleveland on December 13, 2016 with people who voted for president-elect Donald Trump. The group of 12 men and women was made up of both die-hard Republicans and people who had previously voted for either Barack Obama or Bill Clinton at least once.
For these individuals, casting their ballot for Trump was a matter of personal economics and personal security, according to Hart. Also “pervasive throughout the group was a strong anti-establishment and anti-politician attitude,” said Hart — the group participants supported Trump because of his business successes and criticized career politicians for corruption, wastefulness, and inability to get things done.
During the campaign, Trump made a number of lofty promises. The focus group made it clear that “Trump’s voters are not about to let him forget these promises, and they fully expect the untraditional outsider to shake up a storm in Washington and make real, tangible improvements in the economy and in their day-to-day lives. The analysis from Hart’s research team notes that this focus group did not include opponents of Trump, whose “ability to unite the nation will be the ultimate test.”
“Voices of the Voters” is an ongoing project run by Hart for the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which aims to provide a qualitative sense of what voters are thinking and feeling, and what issues are important to average citizens. Previous sessions for the 2016 presidential race were conducted in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Columbus, OH, Indiana, and Colorado.
Click here to read an analysis of the session from Peter Hart, Corrie Hunt, and Annie Norbitz. See below to watch a full video of the Cleveland focus group.
Cleveland focus group on December 13, 2016.
About the Speaker
For more than 40 years, Peter D. Hart has been one of the leading analysts of public opinion in the United States. Since 1971, he has directed Peter D. Hart Research Associates, which has conducted more than 6,000 public opinion surveys that have included interviews among more than five million individuals. Hart Research also has undertaken more than 5,000 focus group sessions. Mr. Hart currently serves as Chairman of Hart Research and Senior Counselor to the McGinn Group.Mr. Hart built his reputation on his successful work in politics, with Hart Research working for 54 U.S. Senators and 45 Governors, more than any other polling firm. His firm’s client list reads as a Who’s Who of American Politics, representing major American political figures including the Clintons, Humphreys, Kennedys, Mondales, and Rockefellers. He is quoted and cited regularly in major media outlets, and has been described as “the uber-pollster,” (David Brooks, New York Times), “the best in the business,” (Andrea Mitchell, NBC News), “truly one of the deans of the political and Democratic polling communities” (Charlie Cook, National Journal), and one of 150 national leaders who shape federal government policy (National Journal).Over the last 20 years, Mr. Hart has shifted his focus towards public policy, cultural and social issues, and strategic consulting work for corporations. Corporate clients have included Boeing, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, AT&T, and Tiffany and Company. His work in the non-profit field includes research for Habitat for Humanity, the ACLU, The Smithsonian Institution, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Internationally, Mr. Hart has conducted studies in South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Over the past decade, he has taught courses on the role of public opinion research at Duke University’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, and at UC Berkeley.Mr. Hart appears frequently on major television programs that discuss public policy issues, including Meet the Press, The Today Show, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. His focus groups on presidential elections for the Annenberg Public Policy Center are often shown in their entirety on C-Span. In 1989, along with Robert Teeter, Mr. Hart was selected by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal to conduct their public opinion polling. 2009 marks the 20th year of this relationship.