A focus group of 14 independent voters has given their assessment of Joe Biden’s first year in office, and their opinions about the job the president is doing are not at all positive.
The group, which was commissioned by The New York Times, featured voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama before switching to Donald Trump in 2016.
“As is customary in focus groups, our role as moderators was not to argue with or fact-check the speakers, and some participants expressed opinions not rooted in facts,” the Times reported.
“The discussions are led by professional focus group leaders; with guidance from Times Opinion, [Frank] Luntz chose the participants and led this discussion. (Times Opinion paid him for the work, and he has done similar work over the years for political candidates and partisan groups.),” the report added.
Here is a smattering of their responses, :
- When the participants were asked to talk about how they view life in America today, their responses included “Divided,” “Dismal,” “Disappointment,” “Indescribable,” “New normal,” “Burned out,” “Stressful,” and “Lost.”
- When queried about whether they believed that the country was at “the lowest point” they’ve seen during their lives, six out of 14 indicated in the affirmative by raising their hands.
- 12 of the 14 independents also raised their hands after being asked if they thought “the level of crime is up in America today, versus a year ago.”
- To that point, several of the independents laid much of the blame for spikes in crime on local officials like district attorneys.
- To indicate the seriousness of life under Biden, six of the 14 raised their hands when they were asked if they were so concerned about things that they were “literally” losing sleep at night.
- “Their worries ranged from the pandemic to economic security, and general frustration over the state of politics.”
- Of the group, a majority — eight — held a negative view of Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, while only 5 had positive views.
The views on Biden, personally, were particularly telling:
- When group participants were asked to describe the president, responses included “Complete disaster,” “Puppet,” “Detached,” “Clueless,” “Pathetic,” “Incoherent,” “Out of touch,” “Functional adult,” “Just calmness.”
- When pressed further for their views, one Independent said Biden was too much of a “nice guy,” while another said she had serious “questions about his mental health.”
- Asked if anyone in the group of 14 thought that Biden had “exceeded” their “expectations,” literally no one raised their hands.
- They were then asked if they thought Biden could do better in his second year, with one person saying, “You can’t really do much worse.”
Politically, Republicans fared better than Democrats:
- Of the group, more than half — eight — indicated they would like to see Republicans back in control of Congress while just five said that they wanted Democrats to remain in charge.
- One person in the group said they are looking to send a message with their vote in 2022 that Democrats were “nuts at the moment,” while another participant remarked that the far-Left had “taken over” the party.
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Policywise, Biden didn’t do well, either:
- Eleven of the 14 independents said they don’t believe that Biden can get the pandemic under control, compared to just two who expressed the belief that he could.
- When asked how many were “confident that President Biden and the Democrats have a plan to improve the economy, to deal with inflation,” none of the 14 raised their hands.
- When queried about what they would tell Biden if they could, here is a sampling of response: “No vaccine mandates,” “Get rid of your staff,” “No lockdowns, no more lockdowns,” “Fix the crime rate,” “Take action and be honest and go for it,” “Start regulating the ports,” “Get the border under control and take it much more seriously than you are currently,” “Please be moderate, like you used to be, and don’t tell me that I have to wear a mask anymore.”
The focus group’s findings come on the heels of another dismal poll showing Biden’s approval rating continuing to crater.
Biden’s approval rating dropped to a new low of 33%, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, with 53% of Americans saying they disapprove of the president’s performance. The rating is down 3% since November 2021, when Biden held a 36% approval rating.