Biden Voters Who Went for Youngkin Say Democrats Focused Too Much on Social Issues

Focus groups conducted among Virginians who cast ballots for President Joe Biden during the 2020 election found some voters had "little positive to say" about the president one year later and believed the Democratic Party focuses on social issues rather than the economy.

The results of the focus groups were shared by Third Way, an organization that identifies as a "center-left" national think tank. Politico was first to obtain the organization's report earlier this week, and Third Way has since shared the report on its website.

The report identifies the main takeaways from the online focus groups, which were conducted on November 8 and 9 among voters in Richmond and suburban areas of Northern Virginia. All 18 of the voters included in the focus groups voted for Biden last year but told pollsters they either voted for Republican Glenn Youngkin during Virginia's recent gubernatorial election or seriously considered doing so.

Glenn Youngkin Democrats social issues
Focus groups conducted among Virginia voters who cast ballots for President Joe Biden in 2020 found many believe the Democratic Party is not focusing enough on the economy. Above, Republican Glenn Youngkin takes the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 2, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Youngkin won Virginia's November 2 gubernatorial election, defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, who served one previous term as the state's governor, had the support of the national Democratic Party heading into the election and pulled several high-profile Democrats—including Biden—into the state to campaign alongside him in the weeks before Election Day.

According to the focus groups' results, voters "couldn't name anything that Democrats had done" with the exception of the infrastructure bill pushed by Biden's administration. However, that piece of legislation "didn't overcome their opinions that we have spent the last year infighting and careening from crisis to crisis," the report said.

Among the report's conclusions were that voters "believe the economy is bad" and do not think the Democratic Party is offering solutions to nationwide problems, including economic issues like inflation.

"They aren't hearing us talk about the economy enough, and the things they are hearing about our agenda (people mentioned the child tax credit, paid leave, free college) don't have to do with getting people back to work or taking on the cost of goods," the report said. It added this perspective is "deadly" at a time when the economy is a top issue among voters.

Researchers said all of the voters stuck to their decision to support Biden during last year's election and "do not necessarily blame him" for specific issues with the economy and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "But at the same time, these 2020 Biden voters had little positive to say about him right now, and many described disappointment or a sense that he is not doing well," the report said.

In a tweet that shared the report's findings, Third Way suggested Democrats raise awareness among voters about the infrastructure bill's passage, narrow in on securing higher wages for American workers and identify a "simple, specific economic message." The organization's recommendations came less than one year before voters are due to return to the polls for the 2022 midterm elections, during which Democrats will fight to maintain the slim majorities they have in both chambers of Congress.

Newsweek reached out to the Democratic National Committee for comment.