Could Joe Biden’s VP choice cost him some crucial votes in the Midwest? It stands to reason that the Democratic nominee absolutely has to do better than Hillary Clinton when it comes to building back that fabled Blue Wall across the so-called Rust Belt, but it could be that his decision to put Sen. Kamala Harris on the ticket was the worst choice of his campaign. In a forum hosted by Axios after the vice presidential debate last week, several Michigan voters said they were all set to vote for Biden…right up until they got an up-close-and-personal look at the woman running to be second-in-line for the presidency.
“Biden’s not going to make it four years, so Kamala Harris is going to be president and I have zero trust she can be president, so I’m just picking the lesser of two evils at this point,” one forum participant said.
Others in the forum found that while they were in agreement with Harris’s points during the debate, they did not trust either her or Biden to give voters a straight look at their agenda.
“I’m going to have to stick with [Trump] because I don’t know if the left will make due on the promises they’re saying right now,” a participant named Adam said.
Others, obviously having made up their minds about supporting Trump prior to the debate, were taken aback by how well Harris performed.
“I’m fearful of this woman because she knows how to strike chords with the people of America,” Matt T. told Axios. “She’s basically utilizing everything that has happened this year to attack the Trump campaign and she does it in such a way that she’s making really strong points, but I don’t think they’re true. So she’s coming across very powerful.”
In another focus group, Republican pollster Frank Luntz found people unhappy with Kamala Harris.
“They gave us three conclusions,” Luntz said of the voters from several swing states. “The complaint about Kamala Harris was that she was abrasive and condescending. The complaint about Mike Pence was that he was too tired but vice-presidential, or presidential. If this is a battle over style and substance, which is often the case with undecided voters because they simply do not choose on policy — they also choose on persona — this was Mike Pence’s night.”
Ordinarily, we wouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying about what voters think of the VP candidates, but when you have Biden out there looking like he’s got one foot in the Great Beyond and absolutely no enthusiasm growing behind him…Harris may be the one to watch. And if these focus groups are any indication, swing voters are even more wary of her than they are of Trump.