ALBIA, IOWA – Today, Focus on Rural America cofounders Patty Judge and Jeff Link released their latest research on voters in rural and suburban Wisconsin. From June 29 – July 1 Focus on Rural America held four focus groups conducted by David Binder Research. The uncommitted rural and suburban Wisconsin voters, divided into groups by gender and education level, had supported Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016. The voters shared their views on the economy, the candidates, and current events such as the coronavirus pandemic, and how the President is managing it.

You can find our focus group summary here.

The findings show that neither candidate, President Trump nor the former Vice President Joe Biden, are a lock. Past research by Focus on Rural America and David Binder Research showed that Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 with voters who could clearly rattle off his key messages. Today, the President’s agenda is far more vague and generally refers to a strong economy and political division. VP Biden, on the other hand, is a blank slate. Uncommitted voters are aware of his time as VP but aside from characterizations by the Trump Administration to define him in a poor light, voters say they don’t know much about him.

“It’s not all candy and roses, not for Biden or for Trump,” said Link. “Voter views of Trump have shifted, and they can no longer define exactly what it is Trump wants to do during a second term. They still think he’s good for the economy, but he’s lost significant ground. Biden, on the other hand, is a mystery to them. He has yet to define himself to these voters, which leaves an opening for Trump to do it, and he’s running hard to define Biden as weak.”

“These voters don’t know Biden, but they do understand him,” said Judge. “I think he has a real chance to tell his story and remind rural and suburban voters that Donald Trump fights for the rich and powerful, while Joe Biden is a scrappy kid from Scranton who knows what it takes for real people to get ahead, or simply get by. But the time is now. He’s got to reach out to these voters and tell them who he is before Trump does it for him.”