• Focus Groups

Focus Group Report: Independents from Virginia, Wisconsin, and Texas View House Republican Investigations and Legislative Priorities as “Out of Touch”

Friday, January 27, 2023 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.
On January 18, 2023, GBAO conducted three focus groups online with independents who varied across demographics—age, education, and race.
Key takeaways
  • The mood is still “grim,” with worries about America facing “the end times.”
  • Awareness of the new Republican House majority’s priorities is mostly thin.
  • Many proposed investigations sound like “tit for tat” or “revenge” and are not in line with voters’ priorities.
  • Although some priorities and investigations either sound confusing or economic-driven.
  • Cuts to Social Security and Medicare seen as a deeply problematic component of House Republicans’ legislative agenda.

Most Voters Still Feel Pessimistic About the Country’s Political and Economic Climate

Few Can Say Much About the New Republican Majority’s Priorities, but Most Heard About the Failed Speaker Vote

Many Have Awareness and Strong Negative Reactions to Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos

Specific Knowledge of Other Members Is Thin

The Term “MAGA” Evokes a Sense of Blind Loyalty and Cultishness

Most Assume Congress Won’t Get Anything Done and Yearn For Members to Compromise

We Presented Respondents With a Series of Potential Investigations, Drawing on Republicans’ Own Language

Congressional Investigations Seem Like a “Revenge List”

Hunter Biden’s Laptop Is the Most Egregious Example of “Tit for Tat” Investigations

There Is Openness to Investigating China, Immigration, Wasteful Spending, But List Broadly Not in Line With Voters’ Priorities

We Explored a Series of Republican Legislative Priorities and Actions

Many Are Confused By Investigations Into Domestic Terrorism, CRT, and the IRS

Across the Board, Cuts to Medicare and Social Security Are the Most Problematic

Revoking Abortion Rights Still Tied to Republican Identity and Still at Odds With Voters’ Views

Looking Ahead to 2024, Independents Are Not Happy With Their Options

About The Study

GBAO conducted three online focus groups on January 18, 2023 with independents who closely follow national politics in state of Virginia, independents who are less engaged with national politics in the La Crosse/Eau Claire region of Wisconsin, and independents with mixed levels of following national politics in Tarrant County, Texas. Some quotes have been lightly edited for brevity. Qualitative results are not statistically projectable.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org