Focus Group of Ohio Swing Voters: Impeachment Is a Distraction from Issues They Care Most About

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is joined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., at a news conference as House Democrats move ahead in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. In an unusual show of anger today, …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Nine out of 11 swing voters who took part in a focus group in Ohio said impeachment is a distraction from the issues they care most about — wages and unemployment, border security, bringing troops home, and health care costs and access.

The focus group — convened by Axios and Engagious/FPG last week — showed that swing voters are “expressing a range of unease” about impeaching President Trump, according to an Axios report.

The fears range from impeaching hurting the economy to frustrations that House Democrats are most invested in going after Trump than in helping people, said the report.

The participants said impeachment made them feel “concerned,” “uneasy,” “exhausted,” “sad that they’re [Democrats] so focused on it,” and “a big distraction from what we could be doing.”

Axios noted that the findings are a counterpoint to recent national polls, including the Fox News poll, that showed that more Americans favor impeaching and removing Trump.

On “why it matters,” Axios explained, “If such sentiments last and play out on a larger scale across pivotal states, it spells trouble for Democrats unless they can reframe what they’re trying to accomplish.”

Brad P., a 40-year-old Trump voter, called impeachment “a never-ending drama” that “shows to me these people are completely out of touch with everyday Americans’ lives.”

Two people doubted that Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, and others did not think it warrants impeachment if he did. “Is there undeniable proof?” asked one man.

Participants similarly had negative things to say about the Democrats.

“They need to focus on the real issues,” said Judy D., a 60-year-old Trump voter, said. “[Nancy] Pelosi hates him so bad, I just think she needs to drop it and worry about the country.”

Deborah G., a 56-year-old Clinton voter, said, “They need to be concentrating on the country, not what he’s doing wrong,”

Eric B., a 34-year-old Trump voter, said, “They hit a big strike on Mueller, so this is trying to get another base hit on the president.”

Richelle W., a 40-year-old Trump voter, said, “It’s become more of … ‘Destroy the other party’ instead of build the whole country up.”

Rocco P., a 40-year-old Trump voter, offered this advice to Democrats, saying, “Just drop it. Beat Trump at the ballot box.”

Lisa A., who was a Clinton voter, didn’t think impeachment was a great idea, but said, “I believe in the checks and balances,” and “I’m not scared of the process.”

The focus group was held in Mahoning Country, which Trump lost by less than 4,000 votes. Eight of the focus group participants swung from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, and three switched from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton.

Six of the 11 participants say they have made up their minds for 2020 — four of the participants said they will definitely vote for Trump again, one former Trump voter said he will vote for Andrew Yang, and one Clinton voter, Lisa A., said she’s leaning toward Elizabeth Warren.

Five are undecided.

“While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, these responses show how some voters are thinking and talking about the 2020 election in crucial counties,” Axios’s report said.


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