What Swing Voters Care About

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

I am quite amused how the media (both in Europe and in the USA) is covering the new book by Bob Woodward. Admittedly, it is disturbing to find out that President Trump clearly knew how dangerous the coronavirus was back in January, but chose to downplay it. It is also outrageously stupid for him to conduct 18 interviews with Bob Woodward during an election year. He obviously has no idea what a book by Bob Woodward is.

This being said, it will have close to zero impact on the election. It is obviously not good news for Trump and it will probably make him lose a day and a news cycle. But I doubt it will have much influence beyond that. Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been remarkably stable somewhere between 42% and 44% throughout his term and despite all scandals. I doubt this one would move the needle.

The Swing Voter Project regularly conducts focus group discussions with voters who, for example, switched from Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016. The last round was conducted with Wisconsin swing voters. Listening to these voters, I highly doubt they would have even heard about Woodward’s book, let alone be influenced by it. Who cares about who knew what and when? I would assume that swing voters care about the fact that the number of new infections is now going down (rapidly) and how to get the country’s economy back on its feet.

If anything, I imagine senior citizens to be most influenced by Woodward’s revelations. They are the most impacted by the coronavirus and I think this is part of the reason why they vote for Biden in margins like they have not voted for a Democrat since Al Gore in 2000. If I were the Biden campaign, I would cut ads with the lines “deadly stuff” and “I downplay it” and buy airtime of tv shows with a senior citizen audience.

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