WALMART MOMS – AN ENDURING SWING CONSTITUENCY

If you want to begin to understand the disconnect between Washington DC politicians and Main Street America, look no further than Walmart Moms.  (That’s women who have kids at home under the age of 18 and who have shopped at Walmart over the past month.)

Walmart Moms are on the front-lines of the economy and comprise 10%-15% of the electorate – a significant chunk of voters.  More importantly though, they tend to be swing voters – supporting Barack Obama in 2008 over John McCain, siding with Republican Congressional candidates in the 2010 election, and once again backing Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012.

What you might not know about Walmart Moms:

  • They are younger – fully 70% are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • They are well-educated.  Nearly half have a college degree.
  • They are middle-income, with household income levels even with the national average.
  • They are evenly divided in partisanship – about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third Independent.

Along with Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster (Purple Strategies), POS Partner Nicole McCleskey and I recently conducted focus groups with Walmart Moms in suburban Philly and Kansas City on the day after President Obama’s State of the Union Address.   The results were enlightening and sobering:

  • Walmart Moms are adjusting to a “new normal” – coping with an economy that seems to be dragging along.  These women are upbeat but somber, focused on their daily challenges, and “persevering” – making it through another day trying to make ends meet, balancing the needs of their family with their limited financial resources.
  • Walmart Moms view issues through the needs of their families, especially their kids.  For these women, getting things right means making life better for their kids – that means they will go to any length to shield their kids from the financial difficulties, disappointment and misfortune the families face.
  • Washington politicians are on a different planet.  These moms don’t believe that Washington politicians can relate to what’s happening to “people in the real world with real jobs.”  They simply cannot imagine Washington politicians can understand families’ daily struggles.
  • If the economy is getting better, they haven’t seen it.  The Walmart Moms are suffering from “job promise fatigue” – while they’ve heard all the promises before, they have no confidence that the economy is improving because they are not seeing it first-hand in their own communities.
  • President Obama’s pre-school initiative is a big winner – Walmart Moms believe that getting a good start in life is critical and are strong supporters of early childhood education.  Questions abound regarding the logistics of how it would work, but there is strong support for the goal.
  • Walmart Moms aren’t of one mind on the issue of guns.  There is a consensus that “something” needs to be done, but no agreement as to what that should be.  The debate among these women ranged from mental health issues to banning assault weapons to limiting violent video games.
  • There was no consensus on the minimum wage, either.  While this issue at first sounded attractive to Walmart Moms, it also raised concerns about rising prices and job loss, both issues of prime importance to these women.
  • Despite disillusionment with Washington and general disinterest in the State of the Union address, few Walmart Moms express animosity specifically directed toward President Obama or Republicans in Congress.  They are frustrated with the lack of progress coming from Washington politicians but remain hopeful that things can turn around.

Walmart moms – a key voter constituency on the frontline of the economy, focused on family, education, their personal economy and their children’s welfare.  There’s no talk from these women about the sequester, the federal deficit, climate change, Simpson-Bowles or tax reform.

These women feel the distance between their daily lives and those of Washington Politicians is growing day-by-day, and there is a growing sense that Washington is doing little of relevance to help these Walmart Moms persevere.

Similar Articles

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

  • ARE AMERICANS “OVER” PRESIDENT OBAMA?
    read more

  • POS IN THE NEWS – DECEMBER 13, 2013
    read more

  • The Cutting is the Hardest Part
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.