Focus Group of Swing Voters and Independents Reveals Deep Frustration with Our Elected Leaders

In a series of focus groups, independents and swing voters from swing states blamed elected leaders for the state of our country, expressing a desire for Congress and the president to compromise to get things done.

  • Their top priorities for action were lower prices, border security, and crime.

WHY IT MATTERS – The candidates and parties who win most independents and swing voters will almost certainly win the presidency and Congress.   

HOW TO USE THIS DATA – Candidates and activists can use these results to learn the qualities independents and swing voters most want to see from potential leaders.

Click on the image below to read the full report…or read the summary below.

Elected Leaders and News Media to Blame

Focus group participants believe the country is on the wrong track and blame elected leaders and the news media for the division in the country and the inability to get things done.

  • “I think they don’t communicate with each other. They talk at each other, but they don’t listen. It’s like they listen to see what they can come back with, how they can respond. They don’t listen to see how they can work together and accomplish things.” – Georgia woman, Independent
  • “We look at our leaders, and I think our leadership is showing us how to behave and we’re behaving that way, mimicking our leaders.” – North Carolina woman, Republican
  • “If you turn on any news channel, they’re talking about the same stuff over and over and over again, and its usually political, its usually divisive and its never the whole story.” – Arizona woman, Republican

Wanted: Less Corruption, More Accountability

Corruption and lack of accountability from our elected leaders are common themes of discontent from focus group participants.

  • “Our politicians are making decisions based on who is supporting and funding their campaigns, and special interest groups are driving the direction of political decisions.” – Michigan man, Democrat
  • “Decisions are made that are not the will of the people. …It’s a lot of our politicians making decision based on what’s going to make their donors happy.” – Arizona woman, Republican
  • “[Accountability is…] just taking responsibility and stop blaming the other party for every single thing.” – Michigan woman, Democrat
  • “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a politician stand up and say, my fault, I made a mistake. We tried something, it didn’t work. These are the consequences, and now I’m going to take responsibility and try to fix it.” – Pennsylvania man, Republican

Leadership Qualities

Focus group participants want leaders who will make “tough decisions” that are best for the country (not their donors or party), tell the truth, and listen to both sides.

  • “Somebody who’s willing to make the hard decisions. It’ll piss people off, but it has to be done. And a lot of that comes to spending.” – Wisconsin man, Independent
  • “I want them to learn from their mistakes instead of just pretending they were right and continuing with the wrong thing to prove that they were right.” – Wisconsin woman, Democrat
  • “Someone who’s willing to make the tough choices and decisions because it’s the right decision to take, not because it’s going to keep them in office.” – Wisconsin man, Independent

Getting Back on Track

To believe America was back on the right track, focus group participants said they would need to see lower prices, more cooperation, safer streets, and a secure border.

  • “When you wake up and feel safe to go outside…if you are working 40 to 60 hours a week and you don’t have to survive paycheck to paycheck…if you’re [not] paying all this money for health insurance, and then when you go to the hospital, still get all these big bills…if people are given proper opportunity for education…then America is going in the right direction. – Republican woman, Michigan
  • “When we see more cooperation between different parties in Congress and…increasing pride in being an American.” – Georgia woman, Republican