Donald Trump, Erie Michael Smerconish Chats About Swing Voters with Rich Thau on Sirius XM (Oct 13)
In fact, i’m. Looking at the coverage from axios, which says this, several michigan voters who are sticking with president trump think that if joe biden gets elected, senator kamala harris will be running the show and her wednesday debate performance. Reinforced that view this is rich tao, hey, rich thanks for coming back remind everybody what is engages and what have you been up to i i know that most of my listeners have been following along with all of your reports, but i i don’t want to take For granted that everybody is in the loop, so thanks mike for having me back engages is a firm that specializes in public opinion, research, mostly focus groups and for the last 20 months, we’ve been doing a swing voter project looking at obama, trump voters across the upper Midwest, how many have you done we’ve done 20 now, 20. Since march, are you done? I mean they’re three weeks from today, it’s all over we’re doing with our last one in the project is the day after the election to talk to florida. Voters swing voters to see who they voted for and why? Ah, okay, so so your work up until the election is now. Finally, at a close, it looks like yes, this is the last one. Before i talk about what just went on in in michigan summarize, what has been the takeaway for the well at least 19 of the 20, because i i remember from our prior conversation that it’s the same story you’ve been hearing except for erie, but you describe i’d.
Rather, everybody hear it from you sure so, across the wide scope of the project, keep in mind, we’ve been doing focus groups every single month since march of last year, we’ve basically found in all of the cities, except for one, as you mentioned in erie over the Late spring, that roughly two thirds to three quarters of these obama trump voters plan to vote for president trump it’s been just consistent month over month over month and in michigan, where i was just doing groups last week, uh 11 of the 13 respondents plan to vote For president trump, how do you square that with the polling data which i’ve been spending a lot of time on this program? Synthesizing that shows joe biden with a commanding lead? Well, i i reconcile it the following way. It seems to me that there are different types of swing: voters i’m, looking at one category, which are people who voted for obama, then voted for trump, though we have also a smattering of romney clinton. Voters we’ve been looking at, but there are other people who might be swinging in the other direction. In fact, there might be a lot more of them, so it could be the seniors who are now much more supportive of biden than they were four years ago. Those might be quote, swing, voters, but they’re, not necessarily obama, to trump swing, voters exactly they might be people who more consistently over the years have voted republican.
Maybe they voted for mccain and voted for. Romney then voted for trump and then got fed up with trump and will vote for biden this year, so it’s a completely different category and if there’s a larger number of those people compared to the people i’m talking to you can see how biden would be ahead In the polls spare me the the phone call that that has come, often after your prior appearances, where people say well, those aren’t really swing voters. Well, you know the the thing is: these are people who changed party affiliation on the presidential level over the last two election cycles? They voted obama. Then they voted for trump, so i’m. Looking at behavior, they did this that isn’t to say that other people might not swing in the other direction, but um yeah. But when i tell you a month over michael that, you know, overwhelming majorities of these respondents are voting for trump. I get the same reaction from people i talk to that you get female your listeners and i think it’s important to understand i’m, not talking to every possible swing voter in america or or subset of that category. There are so many different categories of swing. Voters out there do we have to be mindful of that i’m. Looking at one slaver, if you will okay, i think it’s important to to say this, because on november 4th uh, you know people could be saying well, rich tao.
He said that all these people were hanging with trump and my god it’s a biden landslide, and your answer will be this one segment of trump voter i was exploring and you know they either did or didn’t do what they told me. They were going to do but it’s, not how about this rich it’s, not an election prediction by any means: it’s, not it’s, not meant to be an election prediction. What i’m trying to understand with this project is that the people who’d determined or largely determined the outcome of the last election. What are they going to do and if i had seen, for example – and this has been something i’ve been looking for and really have never found, except in erie? If i had found a massive number of these obama trump voters had said. Oh i’m definitely voting for biden. I would take that as wow. You know that really is indicative, that the overwhelming scope of people who are persuadable are going in biden’s direction, but i’m not hearing that, and what i’m hearing is that people that trump won over in 2016 are much more likely to stick with him. So for biden to win, he needs to persuade other people, other categories of people, to vote for him and and that and that’s. I think what the story would be if biden wins and wins substantially. Okay, so i well explained – and i think now everybody gets it. So with regard to this, this one swath of swing voters the obama to trump swing voter.
You spent time with several michiganders after the vice presidential debate. I have some audio, but why don’t you first describe what was the big takeaway? Well, the the the big takeaway was uh that the the vice presidential debate, didn’t sway them one way or the other. I think eight of the 13 had watched all or part of the debate uh. For me, the the the big takeaway was uh that so let me explain the day i did the folks the night i did. The focus group was the day that the plot against gretchen whitmer was exposed and and the fbi news came out. So i asked about that. My timing was impeccable. I you know. Sometimes you luck out. Sometimes you don’t, i lucked out that day and the response from a lot of these respondents was. You know what you know. We don’t support kidnapping, but we understand why the kidnappers were were were trying to do what they were doing, uh that we’re frustrated by her one person described her as a tyrant, um another one. You know made the point that you know she she we’re fed up with her here in michigan it’s all about politics. She doesn’t care about businesses, she doesn’t care about michigan. So those are the kinds of comments i heard, and i was floored by by that reaction. You think that, if your governor is, it was at risk of being kidnapped, that your constituents would be more sympathetic, and a lot of these folks were not at all interesting.
How about with regard to the presidential race, uh 11 of 13 will take trump over uh biden. They were not happy with the way the president behaved in his debate. They were sympathetic toward the president and his illness. It wasn’t really going to affect them one way or the other their their feeling was. Basically, the president gets is in contact with so many people. It was almost inevitable that he would catch this thing. They recognized he wasn’t wearing a mask. He wasn’t distancing, but they really thought that the main driver of why he caught it was just his his overwhelming proximity to large numbers of people that, basically by a law of averages, he was going to end up catching the disease, but they don’t they don’t. I mean fascinating to me: they don’t see it as emblematic of his his callous disregard for safety. The way that he hasn’t prioritized covid19 the way that he’s put himself in front of a lot of people who could get it from one another they’re not holding him accountable. For that not really. No, i mean you got michael. The thing that you hear from these folks is sort of like this covet, shaming that goes on in the in the media, which is like you know today, trump did another rally and he didn’t protect himself and protect the people around him. You know pence did the rally in the villages and and look at all these people sitting around that’s the kind of thing that’s a narrative in the media, but for a lot of these folks it’s, like you know, if you want to wear a mask, wear a Mask and if you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t wear a mask: they just they don’t stress over it.
The way it’s it’s emphasized in in news coverage on like cnn, for example, or msnbc, where it’s the it’s, the main focus of the coverage about the president and so their orientation, their thinking is just very different they’re, not as high strung about it. I guess is the way to put it rich. I want to play some of the audio from the focus group as it pertains to senator harris let’s. Listen, how many of you think that if biden got elected that he would get pushed out and for kamala harris to take over how many of you think that would happen? Well, five of you, okay and we’re, and when would that happen? Like 20 minutes after biden takes the oath of office like when, would that happen first, six months, six months, yeah, i say probably within a year and who would do the pushing describe what that would look like. I think they would have him declared on fit by a medical doctor, or you know some other person that’s going to use science to back it and basically, at that point he loses his his position of power rich. You got to explain this to us what’s going on there. Well michael, this is a continuation i’ve been hearing since basically the summer, which is now the belief that that biden has dementia that he has. His cognition is diminished that he won’t be able to function and there’s, just a generalized sense that he’s just not gon na last, and that if you’re voting for uh biden, you’re really voting for harris and she’s the one you have to watch because she’s gon na Be the power that takes over so again it’s it’s, it’s part and parcel of sort of a much larger conspiratorial type of mindset that i’ve been uncovering, particularly in the last few months, and i this q and on you know, michael, came up not overtly by terms Of the hollywood pedophile story, 10 of the 13 respondents.
I had said that hollywood is just covered in pedophiles they’ve heard the stories about cory – feldman. Yes, oh my god, 10 of 13. yeah, 10, 13, i’d heard it and when i asked you believe it every one of those 10 said yes to me, and then i heard about you know a uh, stranger and my vote matters as much as theirs or i Should say their vote matters as much as mine 10 of 13., 10 10 of 13., but that wasn’t the only conspiracy i heard so i heard about uh uh, strange uh, uh organizations that are planting bricks on pallets and cities, so that uh people who are who Are rioting will have the bricks at their at their disposal? I heard about scientists who don’t want to find a cure for a vaccine, because their funding is going to run out if they do that, i mean this is part and parcel of what i heard. I mean i i i had someone i had someone whose opinion i respect say to me. Well, of course, the president isn’t going to debate joe biden virtually because biden would either be reading from a prompter or would be reading through some type of a lens that he would be afforded like what what kind of a lens would he be afforded. But you know that that’s yeah well that’s been going around the internet that’s. What i heard the previous week with the ohio response, one guy said that biden was wearing magic contact lenses that enabled him to read off of some teleprompter remotely.
Damn i need. I need a pair rich next time. Ask them where you can get them. I need a pair for when i’m doing my cnn show it would make my make my life a hell of a lot easier. If i didn’t have to read off prompter, if i could just read off my glasses, oh man with regard to senator harris, and this idea that five of 13 think that, in short order, she’d be president, i i take it that they don’t think it’s. Just what the natural progression would be of their perception of the vice president’s health, meaning joe biden’s health? In other words, they think the fix is in and somehow this is all part of the deal yeah. I think it is part of the deal you know and the thing that’s hard to uncover. Michael, is you know to what degree this is about biden and to what degree this is about harris and also how much race comes into the conversation um. You know there’s a there’s, a certain amount of of of underlying feelings about her, that i’ve been surfacing in these conversations that make them uncomfortable with her. I heard a lot, for example, during this conversation about her facial expressions. While pence was talking and her hand gesticulations that they just some of them just didn’t like her, you think it’s race or do you think, it’s gender by the way, it’s perfectly it’s perfectly acceptable, not to like her, because you don’t like her not having to do With race or gender, i mean many of us don’t, like many people, for a lot of reasons, but i’m curious as to whether you detected anything that you thought was gender bias.
Well, the there is, i think there is some gender bias there. I certainly heard it with um those groups in philly. I did a couple weeks back there. It was over. I mean the respondents even told me straight up, but they didn’t think that a woman should be president, so that there was there was nothing hidden there. I didn’t hear the same kind of thing from the michigan uh swing voters. So i again, i in the groups – i just didn’t – get a chance to to go really deep on that part of the conversation but there’s, certainly, as we know, there’s a certain segment of the population, women, as well as men, both genders, who just are not comfortable With the idea of a woman in that kind of executive position and okay, so how many of this, let me ask, let me ask a final question: is one way to interpret by the way this is rich tao from engages giving us his final report until the Election is over about yet another of his focus groups. This is with 13 michiganders people, who’d voted for obama and then voted for donald trump. The takeaway is three quarters. Are sticking with trump we’re trying to explore exactly the depth of their feelings? Is one way of evaluating their their analysis of kamala harris’s debate performance that she did really well, in other words, that she did really well and it kind of troubled them like uh? Oh, she could be the power as between the two well that’s, exactly it um.
We had one woman who said i asked: how did you feel about her when you saw her she’s? I i was scared because i felt like she actually did a better job than pence, so it doesn’t sound like much swing in that voter sounds like they. They were, they were locked in for trump and pence. Anything else that that you wanted to make sure that you conveyed that i’ve i’ve, not uh asked no, i mean one thing i would say is i have a piece in the bulwark today talking about this and i would just encourage people if you want to read A little bit more about it, uh to go to thebullwork.com and check it out um or go to swingvoterproject.com and actually watch the highlights. Video um it’ll be uh. Some of the most entertaining eight minutes. You’Ll have all day i’m going to tweet out from the bulwark. Hey rich, thank you so much. Thank you for all of your reports. I i think you were here like 20 times that we got the benefit of your thinking and you know i appreciate it so good good job and well done michael. I can’t. Thank you enough. You’Ve been a great supporter, and it means the world to me.