Why we do focus groups (or listening groups) by Eric Keller
Raj Jain created some graphs using voter history data which shows some startling movements. Using District 8 for an example, he created one graph which shows the results from 2006 presidential primary and then from the 2012 presidential primary. The graph is read from left to right with the bottom line showing the percentage who voted at one time in either primary. As you move to the right, the last bar shows those who only voted Dem or GOP in any primary.
This is why Susie Wiley is working so hard to manage focus groups for each individual district. So we can understand better what the voters are thinking, especially those who really lean Democrat, but stayed home in 2016 or even voted from Trump. There are so many theories on why rural voters (64% in Anderson County) went straight Republican ticket. Economic distress, educational gap, backlash against minorities & immigrants, and fear of losing their way of life are just a few of the potential explanations. Rather than guess, we decided to find out.
The focus groups are designed to dig deeper than surveys and determine what issues are heavy on voters' minds. We use Catalist, a commercial company, to acquire names of voters who lean Democrats-independent - lean Republican. We divided the list into districts. Joan Nelson had volunteers call from these lists to find participants. Our goal is to form groups from 4 - 10 with trained facilitators & note-takers who attend the sessions. Questions are carefully constructed and each group in each district has the same set. Sadly, finding participants is much harder than we thought.
We already had one session and one is scheduled for today. We need people to help. We need people to either call from the Catalist sheets or provide names of friends/neighbors who you know fit the criteria. The criteria is simple, those who are independents or "sometimes" voters who tend to vote Democrat. If you wish to help- email me at email@example.com.