Feb 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Focus groups: Michigan swing voters repelled by special counsel's Biden report

This is Joe Biden

Biden steps off Air Force One with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on Feb. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Michigan swing voters said President Biden is behaving in ways that suggest he is too old to lead the country, according to our latest Engagious/Sago focus groups.

Why it matters: These interviews with swing voters who supported former President Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020 were conducted shortly after a special counsel report said Biden had "significant limitations" on his memory.

  • "Robert Hur's report reinforced Michigan swing voters' long-held concerns about President Biden's physical condition and mental acuity," said Rich Thau, president of Engagious, who moderated the focus groups.
  • Special Counsel Robert Hur chose not to bring charges against Biden over his handling of classified documents but detailed "significant limitations" in Biden's memory in his report.
  • The White House and Biden's lawyers have pushed back strongly on the report, calling it "gratuitous" and "politically motivated."

Zoom in: Axios sat in on two Engagious/Sago online groups Tuesday night with 14 Michigan voters who backed Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Six were Republicans, while eight were independents. There were no Democrats.

  • A focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, but the responses show how some voters are thinking and talking about current events.
  • "Falling down. Loss of balance. My father has dementia, so I have seen a progression," said Yvette P.
  • "Seems like he's at a loss for words or he forgets what he's actually speaking about, and gets things confused between people who he's tried to talk about or situations he's trying to explain," said Jerome B.

The big picture: The majority of the participants would take Trump back, with half open to taking him back even if he is convicted of a felony before the election.

  • "I just feel the economy was great. Everything was great. I mean when Trump was in office, so I don't think I can handle another four years of Biden," said Ann N.
  • "And after seeing what Biden's done in the last four years, I think anybody that votes for him, I'm sorry, but they're basically just as off their rocker as he is," said Kat M.

The bottom line: 11 of the group's 14 participants believe Biden should step aside for another Democratic candidate.

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