Focus group: Trump risking supporters by picking Twitter fights
President Trump’s Twitter habits in the White House could be costing him a key demographic of voters ahead of elections in 2018 and 2020, according to an online focus group convened by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.
The group was comprised of voters from Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania who had voted for both former President Barack Obama as well as President Trump in November.
“The white Obama-Non-Clinton voters we surveyed were clear: If the economy does not improve measurably, they are not going to give Trump a second chance—and they already have a clear reason to explain his failure: Twitter,” Messina explains in a Politico op-ed.
“The members of our focus groups worried that Trump was so pre-occupied with picking Twitter fights and the general chaos of his administration that he was not focusing on making the economy better,” he added.
Messina explained that Democrats could craft a message proven to be effective with voters against Trump’s Twitter habits and legislative agenda.
“When exposing all voters in the survey to a tough message laying out the consequences of Trump’s tweeting—how it signals what he really cares about and prevents him from focusing his energy on making good on his promises to improve people’s lives—we found that the overall rating of Trump’s handling of the economy dropped by 6 points,” Messina wrote.
“Perhaps even more interesting is that when we re-surveyed Obama-non-Clinton voters six weeks later, those who’d been exposed to the tweeting message had a much dimmer view of Trump than those exposed to other messages,” he added.
Trump frequently attacks his critics on Twitter, and since entering office has used the platform to make policy announcements as well as feud with figures such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Messina argued this behavior will soon sour with voters.
“It’s true that Donald Trump is unlike any politician we have seen in a long time. Things that pundits say should sink him do not. He has thus far managed to rebound from even the most vile behavior,” he concludes.
“But voters are only willing to go along with that so far.”
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