He voted twice for President Barack Obama. He watches as Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, berates the president on a near-daily basis.
And yet, he’s considering voting for Donald Trump.
“He has a history of getting the job done. We need someone as president who can get the job done, and I feel that he’s not afraid to take on the challenges,” he said.
He is one Republican voter out of 29 that participated in a focus group Monday conducted by pollster Frank Luntz.
Luntz presided over the focus group Monday night in Virginia, which featured 29 people who either support Trump or have at some point during the campaign expressed support for him. Business Insider attended the focus group.
The focus group featured eight participants who had voted for Obama at one point in the past two elections — including four people who voted for him twice.
But they were no exception to the surge of Trump, who continues to climb in polls of the Republican presidential primary race since his entry into the field in June. He has built strong leads in national polls as well as in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire with a surprisingly large base of support.
The focus group should not be considered representative of the Republican Party as a whole, or of the electorate in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. But it provided insight into why a wide variety of voters have allied their support with Trump — including those who have voted for Obama in the past.
“A mainstream politician, a career politician, is never going to solve any of the problems that we have,” one participant said of why he could support Trump even after voting for Obama.
Another panelist who said she had voted for Obama twice said she was impressed with Trump’s bravado from the start. She made note of him fighting back when numerous businesses and corporations cut ties with him amid backlash over controversial remarks on immigration.
“He’s not afraid. He doesn’t show fear. He doesn’t show that it’s going to look bad. I mean, even when Macy’s and … NBC fired him, it didn’t tarnish his strength. It didn’t make him feel like, ‘Oh, I got canned or I got fired,’ or whatever,” the panelist said.
“He didn’t let it phase him. The agenda was there. And he has that agenda for the country. He keeps prodding along, even if people give him negative press. He still has that conviction. He doesn’t change and apologise.”
Then there were two voters who share a common story — they felt they had been suckered into supporting Obama and “really thought he could change things,” as one put it. She said she’s sceptical now of the message pushed by any politician — but Trump is different.
“There’s something about Trump. He looks you in the face. He doesn’t care what you think about him. He doesn’t care what this guy, or this company, or this person thinks. He’s going to say what he feels,” she said.
“That’s what the American people are feeling right now. Nobody’s listening to us. … He’s listening to us. He knows what we’re thinking because he is one of us.”
The other voter dismayed with the high expectations of Obama’s presidency expressed hope that Trump would be different because he is “not beholden” to corporations or big donors, since he is heavily funding his own campaign.
At least one participant, though, took a more cynical view.
“He’s entertaining,” the participant said of why he’s supporting Trump. “I mean, that’s what it boils down to. It’s a popularity contest.”
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