Recent focus groups conducted by Democracy Corps around the country reveal an environment of serious economic doubts with major political implications. Swing voters in the battleground – Orlando, Fla. and Columbus, Oh. – are scared about making ends meet, worried about the housing crisis, and see increasing income inequality putting a painful squeeze on a declining middle class. As the 2008 election approaches, the candidates and party that offer a real break from the Bush economic agenda will be speaking directly to what drives the desire for change in our country.
Democracy Corps recently completed focus groups in battleground congressional districts in Ohio and Florida that took a deep look at voters’ attitudes toward the economy. Discussions with these swing voters reveal the intense anger and concern that Americans have about an economy dominated by skyrocketing costs and stagnant incomes for most people despite record profits for oil companies and big business. In the latest Democracy Corps focus group report, Jim Gerstein outlines the core themes that have emerged in voters’ economic judgments. The report includes participants’ direct quotes, revealing the angry language they use to describe the struggles they are experiencing today.