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    'Double disapprovers' could decide the election. Here's what they say

    en-usJune 07, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Swing voters' frustration with Biden and TrumpSwing voters, who could decide the election, expressed their frustration with having to choose between Biden and Trump due to their dislike for both candidates. Words like 'struggling,' 'concerned,' 'senile,' 'patriotic,' 'jackass,' 'bob,' 'hinged,' 'not an option,' 'too honest,' and 'offensive' were used to describe their perceptions of the two presidents.

      Swing voters, who are likely to decide this year's election, expressed their frustration with having to choose between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. These voters, who had switched their votes from Trump to Biden in 2020, were interviewed by Rich Tao of Engages, a public research firm, before Trump's felony fraud conviction. While a conviction might affect some voters' decisions, the more significant issue was their dislike for both candidates. During the focus groups, voters used words like "struggling," "concerned," "senile," "patriotic," "jackass," "bob," "hinged," "not an option," "too honest," and "offensive" to describe their perceptions of the two presidents. These voters' dissatisfaction with the current political landscape underscores the need for a more diverse range of candidates and a renewed focus on addressing the concerns of the electorate.

    • Voter hesitancyMany Americans are hesitant to vote for major presidential candidates due to lack of excitement, potentially impacting election outcome and raising concerns for democracy. Candidates need to connect with voters on a deeper level to secure support.

      Many Americans are hesitant to vote for the two major presidential candidates in the upcoming election. During a podcast discussion, NPR correspondents Marlaison and Susan Davis explored this phenomenon further by partnering with focus group expert Rich Tao and market research firm Sago. They discovered that these voters are not excited about either candidate and are instead looking for alternatives. This could potentially impact the outcome of the election and raise concerns about the state of American democracy. It's important to note that this trend is not unique to the United States, as demonstrated by the example of Indian politics and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hold on power. Ultimately, this situation underscores the need for candidates to connect with voters on a deeper level and address their concerns in order to secure their support. For those looking for reliable and insightful analysis of the news, NPR's PodSafeAmerica and Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts offer valuable perspectives on current events and pop culture.

    • Double disapproversAround 14% of the electorate in the 2020 election are double disapprovers, or voters who had previously supported Trump but switched to Biden, primarily due to declining approval ratings for President Biden.

      Tao spoke with 12 voters who had switched their votes from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020, primarily residing in swing states. These voters, often referred to as "double disapprovers" or "double haters," make up around 14% of the electorate in the current election and are nearly evenly split between Biden and Trump. In the 2016 election, this group was much smaller at about 3%, but has significantly increased due to President Biden's declining approval ratings. It's important to note that this data is considered "anecdotal" and while polls provide numerical data on voter sentiment, focus groups like this one offer insights into why these voters feel the way they do. Marlison and Susan Davis, who conducted the focus group, wanted to understand the negativity towards both Biden and Trump from these voters, and their findings will provide valuable context to the ongoing election.

    • Election as referendum on TrumpVoters have strong negative feelings towards Trump, but feelings towards Biden are ambivalent. Trump faces significant risk from third parties and voters desire other options.

      The current election is largely viewed as a referendum on the incumbent, President Trump. Voters expressed strong negative feelings towards Trump, using harsh adjectives to describe him, while their feelings towards Joe Biden were more ambivalent. Seven of the 12 voters interviewed said they would vote for Biden if the election was held at that moment, but support for him dropped to five when third-party options were presented. The incumbent president faces a significant risk from third parties or other alternatives on the ballot. Despite Trump's attempts to frame the election as a choice rather than a referendum, many voters expressed a desire for other options. Biden still has an opportunity to win back some voters, as they are not as angry about him as they are about Trump.

    • Biden's second term promisesVoters prefer Biden but lack clarity about his promises for a second term, while Trump's intentions for a second term are clear, including taking America back, fixing the economy, creating jobs, and addressing immigration issues.

      Despite having a preference for Joe Biden among likely voters, they express low confidence in his ability to win and have a hard time recalling specific promises for a second term. On the other hand, they are clear about Donald Trump's intentions for a second term, such as taking America back, fixing the economy, creating jobs, cutting off aid to Ukraine, repealing the ACA, privatizing Social Security, lowering corporate taxes, and addressing immigration issues. The lack of clarity about Biden's vision for the future may be contributing to voter uncertainty and hesitance.

    • Negative partisanship in 2020 electionBoth Biden and Trump are relying on preventing the other from winning instead of strong approval, Biden's efforts to shift focus from Trump to himself have not been successful, Trump is running on a platform of retribution, voters dislike Trump but are ambivalent towards Biden, Biden needs to effectively communicate policies and remind voters of Trump's shortcomings.

      The 2020 presidential election is expected to be characterized by negative partisanship, with both candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, relying on convincing voters to support them to prevent the other from winning, rather than due to strong approval or enthusiasm. While Biden is viewed as the weaker candidate, he is trying to shift the focus of the campaign from a referendum on Trump to a choice between the two. However, despite Biden's efforts and significant financial investment, he has not been able to change enough minds yet, as shown in a recent focus group and polling data. Trump, on the other hand, is running on a platform of retribution and revenge, without providing detailed policy proposals. Voters express strong dislike for Trump but ambivalence or disappointment towards Biden. To change this perception, Biden will need to effectively communicate his policies and remind voters of Trump's shortcomings.

    • Trump's 2020 campaignTrump faces an uphill battle in the 2020 election due to his unpopularity, and the Biden campaign is not focusing on him, potentially turning the race into a choice between two unpopular candidates.

      The clock is ticking for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race. Despite the five months remaining until the election, the Biden campaign is not focused on Trump, and the incumbent's unpopularity could turn the race into a choice between two unpopular candidates. Trump needs to change the narrative quickly if he wants to shift the election away from a referendum on his presidency. Elsewhere, NPR offers listeners a range of podcasts to inform and entertain, from critter knowledge on Shortwave to the history of baseball in Birmingham, Alabama, on Road to Rickwood. And while climate change may be a source of fear, Shortwave empowers listeners with knowledge about innovative solutions and the ways organisms are adapting to the changing climate.

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