At a focus group in Pittsburgh, 12 Trump voters expressed disappointment in the president as part of a project for Emory University in Atlanta to probe voter attitudes on major issues.
With each crisis of the young Trump administration, reporters and pollsters have documented the steady support he continues to get from his most ardent backers, the roughly one-in-four Americans who consistently tell pollsters that they approve of his performance in office, agree with him on most issues and like his personality.
Tuesday night at a focus group in Pittsburgh, a group of reporters heard from a different slice of Trump voters — ones he’s lost for now.
“Outrageous,” “disappointed,” “not ready” were among the adjectives that focus group members who had voted for Trump tossed out when asked for a single word to describe the president.
“He has got to be his own worst enemy,” said Tony Sciullo, a lifelong Pittsburgh resident and a registered independent who works for an insurance agency and described Trump as an “abject disappointment.”
Brian Rush, a registered Republican who works as a sales representative, voiced a slightly more supportive view.
“I’m still going to hold off judgment,” he said. “I’m hoping things can turn around.”
Trump “does want this country to be great,” Rush said. But he likened the administration to a recently bought car that now has several dents and is “not running the way it should” while the mechanics “don’t know exactly why.”
Their disappointment, the Trump voters present made clear, focused mostly on the president’s behavior and personality as opposed to his positions on particular issues.
Polls have documented Trump’s slide among voters like this — those who backed him with reluctance, not fervor, generally favoring other candidates in the GOP primaries and voting for Trump in the end largely as a reaction against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. The focus group, conducted by veteran pollster Peter D. Hart, provided an opportunity to hear their views in more detail.