Priorities USA Releases Initial Findings From Its “Project Blueprint” Assessing Voter Behavior In 2016 Election

February 13, 2017

February 13, 2017


Democrats Have a Real Opportunity to Win Back Many Obama/Trump and Swing Voters

Turnout Voters Are Ready for a Strong Message from Democrats

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Priorities USA is releasing the initial findings from its Project BluePrint, a comprehensive research effort to develop a path forward for Democrats. Since the election, Priorities has made a point of emphasizing the need to both persuade and turnout voters in 2017, 2018 and beyond. This research emphasizes that approach.

Priorities USA commissioned Global Strategy Group and Garin Hart Yang to conduct polling and focus groups among two key groups decisive in the recent 2016 election – “swing voters” who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016 and “turnout voters” who are Democratic-leaning voters, including African-American and/or Millennial voters, that voted in 2012, but did not show up to vote in 2016. The research included an online survey among 801 Obama-Trump voters and three sets of focus groups in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida covering both groups.

Effectively communicating to both groups will be critical to the party’s success. The research identified opportunities for Democrats to win back these voters as the party seeks to move forward towards more successful electoral efforts in 2017, 2018, and 2020. While each group has its own unique demographics and challenges, the research also found areas of commonality between Obama-Trump voters and “turnout voters,” providing an opportunity for Democrats to seek out a broad, unifying message as we seek to build a stronger electoral coalition.

Highlights from the research include:

  • There is a real opportunity for Democrats to win back many voters who switched from Obama to Trump, as half (50%) say they had mixed feelings about voting for Trump. Just 35% of these “soft” Obama-Trump voters have confidence that Donald Trump will do a good job as President and reaching these voters will be a key focus of Priorities USA’s efforts moving forward.
  • Turnout voters – those who voted in 2012, but not 2016 – are disillusioned about politics, but extremely unhappy about the idea of a Donald Trump presidency. They were surprised about the 2012 outcome and are distraught about the prospect of four years under Trump. They will make up the second key target for Priorities USA’ efforts going forward.
  • There is alignment between the concerns of Obama-Trump “swing voters” and turnout targets – that Trump’s temperament will get us into a war, that he will fail to help the middle class and hurt the economy, and that he will make cuts to important government programs.

Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA, launched Project BluePrint today saying, “Rebuilding the Democratic Party and the progressive movement requires that we take an expansive, inclusive view of communication and organizing. Our initial research clearly shows that there are real opportunities to increase turnout and to reach swing voters who are already finding out that Donald Trump and the Republican Party will consistently turn their backs on the American people.”

Guy will unveil the organization’s initial findings throughout the week including a session at the America Vote Summit in Washington and a private briefing with over 40 progressive organizations. Over the coming weeks, Priorities officials will travel the country, sharing the findings with key groups and elected officials at every level.

Read the Project BluePrint research memo here.