Summary: AMP Focus Groups on Inflation, Socialism, Capitalism, Education and critical Race Theory

This second round of qualitative research focused on swing voters between the ages of 20 to 64 (save for Hindu/Indian voters who included all voters over 20 years of age). The focus between the two age cohorts identified some significant differences by age and race. This is a follow-up to our qualitative research on over 65 voters, which can be found here. This presentation was prepared by McLaughlin and Associates. Topline findings with the full report linked below.

  • Inflation was a universal concern between the two age cohorts. Both segments cited concerns about the overall cost of living, but voters over 65 were clearly influenced by a more limited income. While voters under 65 were also concerned about the cost of living, the discussion primarily revolved around the cause – Stimulus checks are keeping people from working, supply constraints, and COVID related issues in general. While the 65 and older segment more readily cited government spending as a cause for inflation, these younger voters were more inclined to say inflation was caused by COVID related concerns.
  • Big Government Socialism may have been largely rejected by the over 65 cohorts, but opinion was more varied among these 20-to 64-year-old voters. There was less resistance among Black voters in the 20 to 64 age cohort. Hispanic voters had nuanced opinions regarding “big government socialism”. They did not connect big government socialism or intrusiveness, but rather a government with more services. While there was more resistance among white and Indian/Hindu voters in this round of qualitative research. Resistance tended to focus on the misallocation of funds, increased inflation, higher taxes on the middle class (and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy) and a disincentive to seek employment. Support was stronger with Hispanic and Black voters under 65 years of age who saw government spending as helpful to society at large, especially as it relates to education and childcare.
  • Education, or more specifically the failure of education, was a unifying issue. All voter segments (racial and age) saw education as failing our students and a threat to the country. Causes and solutions differed between the different voter segments, but all agreed it must be fixed. Parental involvement, funding for the classroom, and higher teacher pay were universal. Standardized testing and teachers’ unions were less unifying. Swing voters over 65 saw a need for a return to the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. Younger voters were more accepting of social teaching, but even here, respondents were polarized by race.
  • While Critical Race Theory was extremely polarizing among voters over 65 years of age (primary by race), there was greater acceptance among these younger voters across racial lines. There was near universal approval among Black voters of the concept of Critical Race Theory and its curriculum. Compared to the over 65 year old voters, there was more middle ground on Critical Race Theory among these under 65 year old voters. While all other non-black racial segments OVER 65 rejected it, there was greater approval among these younger non-black voters. Black participants considered Critical Race Theory to be essential in solving race issues. Similarly, non-black participants under the age of 65 also approved (to a degree) of Critical Race Theory as a tool to teach students the history of racism and how it has impacted society today.