Focus groups can be self-fulfilling Rorschach tests, with practitioners cherry-picking the parts that fit their preconceived narrative. But it’s nonetheless useful to pay close attention to Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg’s findings from a group of Macomb County, Michigan supporters of President Trump, all independents and Democrats. The fine print of these swing voters’ reactions is as significant as Greenberg’s conclusion that Democrats can win back some Trump voters by pivoting leftward on economic issues.
The full report should be read by any Democrat interested in forging a path back to power with Trump in office. For all the anti-Trump sentiment coursing through the country, many will find Greenberg’s findings sobering. Yes, Democrats could win a small slice of Trump voters by adopting a more economically populist message geared towards the Midwestern states. But the cultural disconnect between Trump’s voters and the opposition is so wide that it’s hard to see Democrats making compromises with this sizable, disaffected constituency.
Greenberg has extensive experience in Macomb County, where he conducted a series of seminal studies of Reagan Democrats in the 1980s.