Donald Trump’s supporters are “mad as hell” — and that’s part of the reason they’re so drawn to him as a presidential candidate.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group Monday night in Virginia that featuring 29 people who either support Trump or have at some point during the presidential campaign, living in or around Washington. Business Insider attended the focus group.
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 Republican primary voters have allied their support with Trump.
“That’s why, when Trump talks, it may not be presented in a pristine, completely PC way,” one panelist said, using an acronym for the term “politically correct.”
“But we’ve been having that crap pushed to us for the past 40 years. Since Reagan. Quit worrying about being PC, hurting somebody’s feelings.”
Many of the panelists expressed a plethora of frustration — with Washington as a whole, with Congress, and with their own congressional leaders.
At one point during the panel, one member said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) were “acting like” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California). The panelist opined that there was virtually no daylight between the parties.
Luntz stopped her and asked the rest of the participants who agreed with the sentiment that McConnell and Boehner were “acting like” their Democratic counterparts. Only four panelists disagreed.
“That doesn’t spell good news for the GOP,” Luntz said.
“That’s why we want Trump!” another panelist exclaimed.
Trump has surged 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.
Two members of the focus group keyed in on the rising cost of entitlement programs and a continued increase in the US debt as reasons they were fed up.
“I’m mad because people who are collecting my tax dollars are living as well as I am, because the tax rate is too high,” said one panelist, who described herself as a mother of two. “And at the end of the day, the middle-class has not much to show for it. It’s ridiculous. There are too many people collecting too much, and they’re living too well off of it. The handouts are out of control. The debt is out of control.”
Added another panelist: “There are more net recipients of government programs now than there are putting in.”
Speaking to reporters after the focus group, Luntz perhaps summed up best the appeal of Trump to these voters.
“Donald Trump is punishment to a Republican elite that wasn’t listening to their grassroots,” he said.
Here’s a look at Trump supporters explaining why they are “mad as hell”:
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