Background: In a landmark 2008 survey, Public Opinion Strategies identified “Walmart Moms” as a key swing voter demographic in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. In 2010, Walmart commissioned our firm to continue tracking sentiment with this critical demographic, which is defined as women with children under the age of 18 who shop at the retail giant’s stores.
Our Work: We have tracked Walmart Moms’ sentiment on a wide range of political, social and economic issues. During the 2012 election cycle, our work included national surveys, online surveys and focus groups to gauge their opinions on the state of the economy, the candidates and the top issues of the election. We also used dial groups to quantify Walmart Moms’ reactions to specific statements from the candidates in the presidential debates.
Our research continued in the 2014 election cycle as we started by evaluating Walmart Moms’ opinions of President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address. Working with Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster, Public Opinion Strategies later convened focus groups of Walmart Moms in key Senate races, including Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. The purpose was to capture an understanding of Walmart Moms’ general mood leading up to Election Day, their attitudes toward President Obama and Congress, how they felt about their local Senate races and whether control of the Senate would impact their vote.
One of the highlights of our 2014 Walmart Moms research was a national online survey conducted for Walmart and Parade Magazine that was featured on the cover page of Parade’s Mother’s Day issue. The study provided an in-depth, comprehensive look at the concerns, struggles and daily lives of Walmart Moms.
Our 2016 work featured four rounds of focus groups – two during the contentious primary months, and two after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton became their party’s nominee. The first round of groups, set 90 days before the 2016 Iowa Caucuses and one year before the 2016 general election, captured the negativity that voters felt about the political environment, the anger they had toward Washington, and the distrust they directed toward the political establishment in Washington, DC. Later focus groups among Walmart Mom primary voters sought to probe the impact the on-going primary election had on their perceptions of the candidates.
Subsequent groups aimed to give a better understanding of the state of the race according to swing voter Walmart Moms. In these groups, we probed satisfaction with the two major party nominees, hesitations these voters had with Trump and Clinton, and what the candidates needed to do to win the votes of these Walmart Moms.
In the end, Walmart Moms helped tip the balance toward Donald Trump, choosing “change” over “status quo.”
Result: With Walmart’s support, our research has provided a long-term, empirical snapshot of voter sentiment with this critical demographic. The findings of our surveys regularly earn national coverage in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico and in newspapers across the country, and the term “Walmart Mom” has since entered the American political lexicon.