Survey Suggests American Voters Have More in Common Than You Might Think

Deep Root Analytics finds some points of consensus

Survey from GOP-tied analytics firm finds common ground. Getty Images
Headshot of Erik Oster

Conventional wisdom states that the political landscape has Americans more divided than ever, but new research suggests there is plenty Americans do agree on.

Following the contentious 2016 presidential election, Deep Root Analytics, a firm co-founded by former Mitt Romney campaign director of data science Alex Lundry, conducted a survey of 5,981 American voters from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

“Speaking American: Communicating & Advertising In America 2017′” sought to answer these questions: What do these election results tell us about America? And, what does that mean for how we engage and communicate with consumers and voters?

The results provide a somewhat nuanced view of the American voter.

According to the study, many voted for their chosen candidate reluctantly based on the perception that the opposition was worse. Based on these questions and follow-up statements, Deep Root Analytics characterized 15 percent of respondents as “hesitant Trump voters” and 16 percent as “hesitant Clinton voters.” By comparison, only 10 percent were identified as “Trump strong advocates” and 13 percent as “Clinton strong advocates.”

The survey also took a closer look at the 11 percent of former Obama supporters who voted for Trump.

This group included an equal number of males and females. Sixty-five percent were hesitant in their support of Trump, with 30 percent identifying as Republicans, 18 percent as Democrats and 35 percent as independent.

The consensus within the group was that they “most want to hear from companies that talk about hiring American workers,” a sentiment that aligns with Trump’s “America first” campaign rhetoric.

 

The Agenda Items section of the survey identifies agreement and disagreement among voters on specific policies.

Some might categorize certain questions within this category as leading, perhaps calling into question the objectivity of the study by an analytics firm with GOP ties. Instead of simply asking whether or not survey participants prefer lower taxes on principle, Deep Root Analytics instead asked if they agree with the following statement: “The federal government should lower both personal and corporate tax rates which will unlock economic growth and keep money from being wasted by government.”

On more objective matters, 89 percent of respondents agreed that the federal government should invest in large infrastructure projects, with 56 percent saying they “strongly agree” and only 9 percent saying they either “somewhat” or “strongly” disagree. Seventy-one percent also agreed that “the United States should pursue an ‘America First’ foreign policy,” with 42 percent saying they “strongly agree” and 25 percent saying they either “strongly” or “somewhat” disagree.

Americans are far more divided on Trump’s proposed border wall, which inspired more “strongly disagree” responses than any other question.

A few of these items are even more strongly supported by hesitant Trump and Clinton supporters, a full 90 percent of whom agree with more spending on infrastructure programs.

Another issue Americans do seem to agree on is their distrust or dislike for certain industries, with the most ire apparently reserved for pharmaceutical giants.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents either “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that pharmaceutical companies engage in business practices that ” do great damage to society by convincing doctors to over-prescribe their drugs and pricing their medications higher than what most people can pay.”

Banks and financial-services companies, along with the U.S. automotive industry, didn’t fare well either. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that it “[rigs] the financial system for their own benefit and take advantage of unsuspecting customers and push them into risky and potentially harmful financial decisions,” while only 26 percent disagreed. Sixty-five percent of respondents agreed that “U.S. automobile companies put profits ahead of their own people and look for any opportunity to maximize their profits by shipping jobs overseas,” with 29 percent saying they disagree.

Americans do want to hear more from companies interested in magnifying their efforts on the corporate social responsibility front.

Many respondents would like to see these businesses “[make] it easier for everyday people to make ends meet and live their lives” in addition to hiring more American workers and providing educational opportunities for young people.


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
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