This transcript was created utilizing speech recognition software program. Whereas it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it might comprise errors. Please overview the episode audio earlier than quoting from this transcript and e mail transcripts@nytimes.com with any questions.

patrick healy

I’m Patrick Healy, the deputy editor of “New York Instances” Opinion, and a part of my job is working our focus teams.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

margie omero

Hello, everybody.

speaker 1

Howdy.

speaker 2

Good night.

speaker 3

Howdy.

patrick healy

Lately, my co-moderator Margie and I sat down with 13 undecided unbiased voters.

margie omero

How would you describe Joe Biden as an individual? Natalie.

natalie

It’s like he’s slightly bit senile, and I do assume it’s time to step down.

margie omero

All proper. Megan, how about you?

megan

Disconnected.

margie omero

Richard, how about you?

richard

I might simply describe him as unfit, unfit for the presidency.

patrick healy

They have been from everywhere in the nation.

margie omero

How would you describe Donald Trump as an individual? Lorraine.

lorraine

Immodest.

margie omero

OK, Ken.

ken

Self-righteous.

speaker 4

Narcissist.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

patrick healy

In 2020, unbiased voters broke strongly for President Biden. They helped Joe Biden flip Georgia and Arizona to the Democrats’ palms, which hadn’t occurred in years. He received again Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, three states that Hillary Clinton misplaced to Donald Trump in 2016.

We requested all of those undecided voters a bunch of questions, and I used to be making an attempt to make use of their solutions to determine what messages may draw them to President Biden or Donald Trump after they determine who to vote for in November. I used to be additionally mentally sorting them as potential Trump voters or Biden voters.

hal

Night, all people. My identify is Hal.

gary

I’m Gary.

megan

I’m Megan.

yelena

Hello, my identify’s Yelena.

patrick healy

The main target group participant who intrigued me essentially the most was Yelena. She had this shocking mixture of positions, like a number of unbiased voters do.

yelena

I stay with my husband and my 18-month-old.

patrick healy

Yelena is Latina, 22 years outdated from Alabama.

yelena

My hobbies embrace happening runs, cooking, studying, truthfully doing something with my child.

patrick healy

Now, Yelena was fairly vital of each Joe Biden and Donald Trump. And he or she informed us she doesn’t see a number of promise in 4 extra years of both man as president.

yelena

None of those folks remotely attain the requirements of what the American folks want. Joe Biden, I imply, I really feel like we haven’t had a president these previous 4 years, simply somebody that’s been spending my cash wherever they need. And it’s simply disgusting.

patrick healy

Many of the different contributors within the focus group have been with Yelena. They don’t see President Biden as a particular, efficient chief. And Trump didn’t fare a lot better.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

However Yelena had felt, in a shocking manner, that the nation was extra on its toes underneath President Trump, that it was extra dynamic. She made this level about how President Trump began a dialog.

yelena

Positive it was divisive, and positive it actually wasn’t the most efficient, however it actually highlighted the issues and the divisiveness that was already hidden within our nation. At the least folks have been having conversations. At the least the whole lot felt extra uncovered and on the market.

margie omero

So I wish to pause on that as a result of I wish to hear extra. Are you able to inform me what these issues have been that have been uncovered?

yelena

So I’d say our border. Now we have to handle our funding so people who wish to come right here legally are capable of entry us. However the infrastructure to assist that program has folks ready 15, 20 years to get a authorized inexperienced card, and that’s simply ridiculous. The way in which he went about it was not the best, clearly, and it created a number of divisiveness, however from that got here a realization, I really feel, that that is one thing that wanted to be addressed.

patrick healy

I believe she noticed it as an indication of a rustic that was on its toes, that wasn’t averting its eyes from issues in its midst. After which I believe she checked out President Biden and he or she noticed somebody who, for no matter purpose, wasn’t as dynamic, wasn’t as engaged in these pressing conversations in figuring out a few of the issues with the nation.

So I began pondering Yelena possibly would find yourself in Trump’s camp. However then we requested about abortion rights.

yelena

Abortion is well being care. Abortion is just not a spiritual perception. And that’s one of many higher examples of how church and state has performed a poor job at staying separated.

patrick healy

That sentiment is one which Democrats are banking on for the 2024 election, that People, significantly girls, will probably be so upset concerning the reversal of Roe versus Wade, they’ll vote for Democrats. And we noticed this within the 2022 midterms. After which she talked about her personal private expertise with racism in Alabama and the way she felt like racism had gotten worse when President Trump was in workplace.

yelena

This may increasingly sound foolish, however I skilled much more racism as a result of him being president.

patrick healy

Yelena, [? may I ask, ?] may you give a particular instance of one thing that occurred to you?

yelena

Yeah, so, [CHUCKLES]: me and my mother, we have been at a pizza restaurant. And the folks within the sales space subsequent to us didn’t admire that we have been talking Spanish. They usually known as the supervisor over, and the supervisor over got here to us.

They usually have been like, hey, if you happen to can’t converse English, we’re going to need to ask you to go away. And as you may think about, we left as a result of we felt uncomfortable. And as we have been leaving, it was adopted up by feedback of, return to your nation. Communicate English. You’re in America. And so, that was a state of affairs that could be very contemporary on my thoughts, sadly.

patrick healy

OK, so at this level, I had Yelena down as a Biden voter for positive. However then we requested everybody on the finish —

patrick healy

If the election have been held at present, who would vote for Biden and who would vote for Trump? Increase your hand if you happen to would vote for Biden. Daniel, Henry. I believe that’s it. OK, and who would vote for President Trump? Hal, Gary, Megan, Richard, Natalie, Kim, Ken, Lorraine, Robin, Pablo, and Yelena. OK.

patrick healy

Yelena went with Trump. Regardless of the abortion problem and the racism she mentioned she confronted, Trump was her choose, as a result of Yelena, like so many of those voters, had one massive fear — the financial system.

margie omero

I would like of us to fill within the clean for me. Right here’s the sentence to fill in — once I take into consideration how issues are going within the nation proper now, I’m most frightened about, clean.

speaker 5

My phrase could be the financial system.

speaker 6

Inflation.

speaker 7

Economic system.

speaker 8

Economic system.

speaker 9

Economic system.

patrick healy

The financial system is a giant downside for Biden with unbiased voters. Sure, they see the statistics saying that the financial system is getting higher on a number of measures, however they’re not feeling it of their value of groceries and their family prices in the best way that they take a look at their very own pocketbook now in comparison with when President Trump was in workplace.

In 2020, a number of these unbiased voters needed an finish to President Trump’s extremism. They favored the unity and the priority concerning the soul of the nation that Joe Biden was speaking about.

The query now could be, how can President Biden win over and win again sufficient of those unbiased voters in these swing purplish states, particularly these, like in our focus group, who’re so involved concerning the financial system. They usually hear President Biden speaking about Bidenomics, speaking about how the nation is again and the way the financial system is again, and so they don’t see that enjoying out in their very own lives.

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