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President Biden spoke Wednesday about infrastructure at the Port of Baltimore. Photo: Brendan SmialowskiAFP via Getty Images

Some swing voters say the Democrats' recent victory in passing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill isn’t enough to restore their faith in President Biden.

Driving the news: Only four of the 10 voters in this week’s Axios Engagious/Schlesinger focus groups even knew the long-awaited legislation — hailed by backers as a major job-creator — passed Congress last Friday.

What we’re watching: The words these swing voters used to describe the president were considerably more negative than in previous focus groups.

  • Among the sentiments voters said they feel when they see him on television were anger, sadness and concern.
  • Participants also cited a lack of charge from the president, saying they're worried he doesn't have a handle on his party.

Why it matters: The president’s party is hopeful that accomplishing more of his legislative agenda can boost his sagging popularity and voter confidence.

  • That, they hope, also will save them in next year’s midterm elections.

How it works: Tuesday night’s focus groups included 10 people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, then Joe Biden in 2020, and who live in the most competitive 2020 swing states.

  • While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, the responses show how some voters in crucial states are thinking and talking about current events.

The big picture: Only two swing voters categorized the infrastructure bill’s passage as a “big achievement.”

  • While four of the voters said they regretted voting for Biden, not one said they would back former President Trump again if he were matched against Biden in 2024.

What they’re saying: “I think it’s great that it passed,” Kate M., 42, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, said of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. “It’s been years in the making. But it doesn’t sway me one way or the other.”

  • "It’s obvious he’s not running the show," she said of Biden, and encouraged the president to "start making decisions himself."
  • Shelley K., a 61-year old voter from Marietta, Georgia, said of the bill: “It should’ve been signed back in August. He just wasn’t standing up and being presidential, and letting all the people in his party call the shots. I have no confidence at all in him, even though this passed.”
  • "I feel like it was other Democrats that were helping to push that through and it was just his name put on it," said Brenda S., 51, from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Engagious president Rich Thau, who moderated the focus groups, summed it up like this: “Half of our Trump-to-Biden voters didn’t even know an infrastructure bill had passed, and among those who did, most were underwhelmed.”

But, but, but: Although every voter expressed deep concern about inflation, all but two said that they don’t blame the president for the increased price of goods and housing.

  • “I really don’t fault him," said Josh G., 40, from Mesquite, Texas. "I do think those issues were there because of COVID."
  • “I don't understand how the cost of our toilet paper is affected by what's going on with spending [in Washington],” said Laurel D., a 36 year-old voter from Dunedin, Florida.

Flashback: Swing voters provided early warning signs in August that they were starting to sour on the president.

  • They expressed that concern even though the Senate had passed the infrastructure bill with a bipartisan vote at that time.

Go deeper: Democrats know they have a PR problem.

Go deeper

Advocates see "opportunity" in abortion fight to galvanize Democratic voters

Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson speaks during an abortion rights rally in October. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March

Abortion rights advocates believe the Supreme Court fight over Mississippi's strict abortion bill has the potential to turn the political script: galvanize Democratic voters, instead of its historic ability to drive turnout among Republicans.

What they're saying: "The opportunity is that people are enraged," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told Axios in an interview. "What we saw in Texas, and what people will walk away from [the Mississippi oral arguments with], is a level of rage that we could be living in a world six months from now — where our children have fewer rights than we have right now."

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."