Exploding Cigar: Axios focus group finds Florida swing voters not dumping Trump
Axios put on a focus group of Obama voters who swung to Trump in the 2016 election, pointing out that for the Democratic Party, Job One is to win them back. It sounded like easy pickings, given that Trump won the state by a measly 3,500 votes. Surely there'd be a lot of churn, given Trump's antics, and narrow margins are always great for manipulating turnout, so just a little more information from the swing side, and that'd be an easy one to flip back.
Turns out it was an exploding cigar.
According to Axios:
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Some swing voters here are unbothered by the way Michael Bloomberg is spending heaps of his own money to help him win the race — but they're split over whether they'd actually vote for the New York billionaire over President Trump.
Why it matters: Bloomberg is the only Democrat who was even slightly intriguing to these voters. They're happy with Trump and don't feel like they recognize the current Democratic Party relative to when they voted for Barack Obama.
The deets were worse, much worse, for Democratic prospects. The focus group was a table full of Florida Trump swing voters (it was eight, but Axios said it was still indicative, and these people were carefully chosen) who have, if anything, hardened their pro-Trump orientation, likely based on promises kept. All of the Democrats were a baleful horror show to them, with the lonely exception of Bloomberg, who doesn't say crazy things, comes off as generally sane, and did run a big city in the past. Only Bloomberg has a hint of a chance with these people. But even the Bloomie-friendly voters among them had little nice to say about the man other than that he looks "polished."
Not much good news there at all for the Democrats after that one.
The Axios details, in fact, were entertaining, and if you're a normal, all you can do is nod knowingly.
First, the Democratic yelling about Bloomberg being a billionaire who is "buying" the election was a nothingburger to these voters. (They understood that they make the final choices, perhaps.) They also all agreed with this statement:
"If they all had that kind of money and the financial backing they would all buy [the election] in one way or another," said Carlos, one of the focus group participants, referring to Bloomberg's opponents.
That doesn't say much for the yellers.
Comically, one woman who said she is pro-Bloomberg pointed out that Bloomie's saturation ads would make a lot of lo-fos vote for him and that isn't a fair playing field — not realizing that she was including herself. She was the only explicitly pro-Bloomberg voter noted.
Voters also were "disgusted" by Bloomberg's attempt to capitalize on 9/11, something he wasn't involved in at the earliest critical stages (Mayor Rudy Giuliani was) and something he got in on only when he won the mayor's race as a Republican. Maybe he ought to drop the topic if that's all he can claim as an "accomplishment." And that's valuable information for the Trump side.
Axios would say only that the vote was "split" between Trump and Bloomberg in this group. But in light of the absence of an actual tally, that could mean anywhere between 7-1 Trump vs. Bloomberg to a 4-4 split. Since they didn't give the tally, and we all know which side they are on, I am going to guess it was closer to the 7-1 split, because they would have reported a closer outcome.
This portends very bad news for Democrats, particularly since the pro-Bloomberg sentiment came before the Nevada debate and primary, which left Bloomberg looking like a boob. And none of these swing voters found any of the other Democrats appealing, which is sorry stuff. Here was the pre-Nevada perception from a stick-to-Trump female swing voter, as Axios reported:
But she's not ready to ditch Trump. "He's good for New York, but I don't think he's good for the country," she said of Bloomberg. "I don't think he can take care of the whole country like Trump does. Trump's hard. He doesn't care what people think. He just does what he wants."
Democrats aren't going to win that state if they can't stop focusing on stupid irrelevant stuff and the rest of the time sounding crazy. That's propelled Bloomberg to where he is and signaled that Trump is the benchmark.
Now they know. And now we know.
Somewhere, Trump is smiling.
Image credit: Pixabay, public domain.