Pollster Frank Luntz put together a virtual focus group of undecided voters from swing states Thursday night to get their impressions of the second and final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The economy question
In an eye-opening moment near the end of the session, Luntz asked the 13 focus group participants the following question, “Who do you believe would do a better job with the economy after listening to tonight’s debate, Joe Biden or Donald Trump?”
Luntz wanted a show of hands for each candidate — and when he asked who thought Biden would be better for the economy, not one hand went up.
When he asked if Trump would do a better job with the economy, every single hand went up.
“Clearly by that Trump is the preferred candidate,” Luntz said in response.
Luntz then turned to the focus group participants to get their individual reasons for preferring Trump over Biden.
Jennifer from Michigan said Trump “has knowledge and a skill set to actually bring us ahead. I think that prior to COVID … the first three years of his presidency, he was doing great. And then COVID happened, and our economy has obviously gone into the tanker … and if there’s somebody who’s going to get us out, I believe it’s going to be him.”
Elizabeth from Georgia said that before the coronavirus pandemic, the economy was “better than it has been before. Our 401Ks have grown like crazy, and even in this pandemic look at the stock market — it’s crazy. Everybody had jobs … and here in Georgia, everybody can still have a job. Everywhere I go there’s ‘help wanted’ signs, everywhere.”
Tasha from Ohio said that navigating the economy “will take a special skill set” and that Trump “has shown us that he can recover in many different areas.”
Opinion: Undecided voters assess final Trump-Biden debate
A tweet from Luntz offered some words from focus group members to describe Trump and Biden based on their debate performance:
My focus group’s words to describe Trump tonight:
• “Con artist”
• “Surprisi… https://t.co/tcS1sGgUha
— Frank Luntz (@Frank Luntz)1603423526.0
According to the Los Angeles Times, Luntz selected participants only if they met the following criteria: Currently registered to vote in one of 11 swing states; self-described as “possible” Biden or Trump voters; self-defined independents; and consider themselves “undecided.” Participants were compensated $100 each for their time, the paper said.
The Times also said that, along with Luntz, it asked Sewell Chan, its editorial page editor, to pose questions to the focus group and provide analysis. He was pictured on the bottom of the screen next to Luntz.
Verdict from Luntz?
Luntz told Bloomberg Politics the debate was a tie — which he said bodes well for Biden:
.@FrankLuntz on tonight’s debate between Trump and Biden: “The net of all this is essentially a tie… and that’s v… https://t.co/hbJ9zcgUx1
— Bloomberg Politics (@Bloomberg Politics)1603421433.0