Far from having their minds on the day-to-day maneuvering within the nation’s capital, middle-class Americans of both Swing and Tea Party categories are overwhelmingly focused on the continuing challenges facing themselves and their families. They are concerned not only for their own economic wellbeing and happiness, but that of their children, as well as for the security and health of their parents who are, or soon will be, dependent on programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, participants “in both [the Tea Party and Swing] categories expressed concern about the rising costs of higher education, with college loans saddling many of these middle-class households with insurmountable debts.” On the question of “whether Washington should focus on deficit reduction or economic growth, even the tea party groups split over which priority to pursue. ‘I can’t choose,’ said one participant in Palm Beach. ‘I think both should happen.’ In a similar vein, both groups think Medicare needs to be reformed, but there was general opposition in both sets of focus groups to any benefit cuts. Instead, they favored some form of enhanced competition.'”
The focus groups were conducted between June 24th and July 1st by McLaughlin & Associates, and included participants from four areas of the country: Phoenix, Ariz.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Manassas, Va. In each city, one group consisted of swing respondents and the second group consisted of Tea Party respondents. The Virginia groups were composed of women only. (Click here to read YG Network’s memo summarizing the findings, and click hereto view a more detailed presentation.)