• Focus Groups

Focus Group Report: Perceptions of the Economy among independents and soft partisans in Arizona, Wisconsin, and upstate New York

Thursday, June 22, 2023 By Gabriela Parra
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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 June 13, 2023, GBAO conducted three focus groups online with independents and soft partisans in AZ-1, NY-19, and WI-1.

Key takeaways

  • Despite broad pessimism, views on the economy are now mixed.
  • Knowledge of Congress’ record on the economy is thin. And Democrats’ vision on the economy is not particularly clear.
  • Our three example members are not well-known, although a handful know of Schweikert’s ethics problems.
  • “Specifics” tend to shift constituents negatively—whether they’re specific allegations against members or insulin prices.
  • Member-specific criticisms are more effective than describing representatives as part of the “MAGA” movement.
  • Few seem to be following the Supreme Court closely, but trust in the Court is split, with participants citing Dobbs.

Views on the Economy Are Now Mixed

Views on the Future Economy Are More Positive

Although Pessimism Is Still Widespread

Little Awareness of Congress’ Actions on the Economy or Health Care

The Republican Vision for the Economy Is Clearer Than the Democratic Vision

The Members Examined Are Mostly Not Well-Known

Top Concerns About Members Largely Focus on Specifics, Whether it Be Policy or Questionable Ethics

Enumerated GOP Cuts Are Shocking

Some Find It Hard To Believe Members Would Hold These Positions, But Move With “Standalone Bill” Proof

Others Explain Some Messages Don’t Affect Them Personally

Messages Make Members Seem “Crooked” or Lacking Empathy, Prioritizing Corporations Over People

Animals Further Suggest Members Are Vulnerable

Member-Specific Criticisms Stronger Than MAGA Attacks

SCOTUS Awareness Is Thin, but Most Are Doubtful the Court Will Make the Right Decisions in the Future

About The Study

GBAO conducted three online focus groups on June 13, 2023 with independents and soft partisans in AZ-1, NY19, and WI-1. 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