Democratic pollster Geoff Garin conducted a focus group during last night’s State of the Union address with voters in Columbus, Ohio (a key swing state). The group was evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans/Independents - and, according to a memo by Garin, the overall reaction to the speech was extremely positive.
A few highlights from the memo:
- In a before-and-after test, the proportion of participants describing Obama as “a strong leader” rose from 39% to 71%.
- Fully 78% said after the speech that Obama “looks out for the middle class,” up from 59% before the speech.
- The share of participants who said Obama has good ideas for improving the economy rose from 39% before the speech to 79% after the speech.
Perhaps the most notable point, to Decoder’s mind, was this:
“Of particular interest in watching the dials during the speech were the number of points during which the President broke through with non-college-educated participants, who traditionally have been a skeptical and difficult audience for him. His discussion of jobs and economic fairness was especially effective with this group.”
Republicans are accusing Obama of “class warfare” - but in this particular focus group, the president’s theme of an economy that works for everyone seemed to resonate. In fact, ”only six of the 28 participants said Obama ‘went too far in dividing the country along economic lines and engaging in class warfare.’” If Obama can win over working-class whites in Columbus, Ohio - well, let’s just say that’s a pretty good sign for his reelection prospects.
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