The Focus Group Podcast

The Focus Group Podcast

Unfiltered, uncompromising, unexpected—The Focus Group is a look into what the average voter thinks about politics, policy, and current events. Sarah Longwell, publisher of The Bulwark, has conducted hundreds of hours of focus groups all across the country. She and a series of special guests will take you behind the glass to hear what real focus group participants have to say. https://www.thebulwark.com/podcast/focus-group/

  • 43 minutes 57 seconds
    S4 Ep42: The 'Jekyll and Hyde' Running Mate (with Marc Caputo)
    The Republican National Convention took place with the backdrop of an assassination attempt, and Donald Trump added a MAGA true believer to his ticket, in J.D. Vance. The Bulwark's Marc Caputo joins Sarah from Milwaukee to discuss the convention, the aftermath of the assassination attempt on Trump, and voters' reactions to the Trump-Vance ticket.

    This episode was recorded before Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

    show notes
    Marc Caputo in The Bulwark:  White Men Can Vote: The Logic Behind J.D. Vance for VP


    20 July 2024, 10:00 am
  • 1 hour 4 minutes
    S4 Ep41: Gambling Our Rights? (with Audie Cornish)
    Democrats' spin holds that the calls for Joe Biden to drop out are driven by the media, while base Democratic voters beyond Washington are committed to seeing Biden as the nominee, and there will be a backlash if he isn't. In a series of focus groups with black Democratic voters this week, we found the truth to be more complicated. Audie Cornish, host of the CNN podcast The Assignment with Audie Cornish, joins Sarah to evaluate how Democratic voters (especially black voters) are grappling with whether Joe Biden should stay in the race...and how perceptions of Kamala Harris are driving the discussion.
    13 July 2024, 10:00 am
  • 58 minutes 9 seconds
    S4 Ep40: Derangement vs. Impairment (with Tim Miller)
    Joe Biden's debate performance was a disaster...and voters noticed. Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller bring you the voters' reactions and a frank discussion about the risks and rewards of Biden stepping aside as the nominee...because something in this race has to change.

    show notes
    Puck News: Biden Plunges in Swing States in Leaked Post-Debate Poll

    3 July 2024, 9:00 pm
  • 56 minutes 26 seconds
    S4 Ep39: Former Hillary Voters for Trump (with Amy Walter)
    We taped this show before Joe Biden's disastrous first debate, but its thesis still holds true: he's losing this race. To better understand why, we fielded a group of Hispanic voters who voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and are now leaning towards Trump. Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report joins Sarah to break down why these voters are giving Donald Trump a fresh look.

    From Amy Walter:
    Biden’s Slumping Poll Numbers Not Only Limited to Swing States
    Defectors and Double-Haters: Who Are They, and Who Can Win Them?
    29 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 54 minutes 29 seconds
    S4 Ep38: Utah: The Least MAGA Red State (with McKay Coppins)
    Utah has been something of a bulwark (pun intended) against Trumpism, but even they haven't been immune to sliding into MAGA. And now, with Sen. Mitt Romney retiring, Republican voters are poised to pick a new U.S. senator there. The Atlantic's McKay Coppins joins Sarah to break down how Utah Republicans are different, and where they might go from here. They also discuss voters' assessments of Romney as he prepares to leave office.

    22 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 48 minutes 25 seconds
    S4 Ep37: Is The GOP 'Happy With Losing'? (with Isaac Arnsdorf)
    One of the Republican Party's biggest long-term problems is that their base is demanding behavior that swing voters won't tolerate, and few things have brought out this gap better than Donald Trump's recent conviction. The Washington Post's Isaac Arnsdorf joins Sarah to discuss what the MAGA base expects out of politicians these days, and how swing voters are reacting.

    show notes:
    Isaac Arnsdorf's Book: Finish What We Started: The MAGA Movement’s Ground War to End Democracy

    15 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 40 minutes 37 seconds
    S4 Ep36: Former Trump Voters Say 'Lock Him Up' (with Laura Barrón-López)
    When Donald Trump's 34 felony convictions were handed down, we had focus groups ready to talk about them. PBS Newshour's Laura Barrón-López joins Sarah to listen to swing voters' reactions to Trump's conviction, and to the start of Hunter Biden's federal trial.

    show notes
    PBS Newshour: How Republican voters feel about Trump and the election after his conviction
    8 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 47 minutes 10 seconds
    S4 Ep35: It's Just About Feelings, Man (with Jonathan V. Last)
    We have five months to go until Election Day, and nobody's happy. So we're bringing you some catharsis. Jonathan V. Last joins Sarah to let out a primal scream and preview the home stretch of this presidential campaign through the lens of Trump '16/Biden '20 voters.

    This show is sponsored by BetterHelp. Focus Group Podcast listeners can get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/thefocusgroup
    1 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 37 minutes 16 seconds
    S4 Ep34: The Holocaust Denier from North Carolina (with Zach Montellaro)
    North Carolina Republicans have nominated a candidate for governor who might be crazier than all of the Republicans who ran in 2022. And that's saying something. POLITICO's Zach Montellaro joins Sarah to walk through Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson's political rise, and how his supporters and GOP detractors feel about him.

    show notes:

    25 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 46 minutes 34 seconds
    S4 Ep33: Unlearning Their Hermit-ness (with Tim Miller)
    2024's college graduates started their college careers with COVID, and ended them with encampments on most of their campuses. Tim Miller joins Sarah to discuss how America's youth have dealt with a turbulent few years, how they view the recent protests on their campuses, and their thoughts on November's election.
    18 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 49 minutes 44 seconds
    S4 Ep32: Larry Hogan: The Most Democratic Republican (with Michael Steele)
    One of Sarah's favorite Republicans, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, is running for the U.S. Senate. So how are Sarah, and her fellow Maryland voters thinking about this race? Former Maryland Lt. Governor (and RNC chairman) Michael Steele joins Sarah to discuss how left-leaning Marylanders who've voted for Hogan before are thinking about his Senate bid, and his Democratic challengers.
    11 May 2024, 10:00 am
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