Meet The Press intereviewed people who weren't regulars at the bar and were unrepresentative of the area in which they staged that "focus group." Marcy Wheeler gets real people to speak, and the differences are...quite different.
December 17, 2019

On Sunday's Meet The Press, Chuck Todd talked about a visit his team made to Kent County Michigan, to talk to "real voters" and their views on impeachment and Election 2020. In the segment, Dante Chinni from MTP sat down with a group of 6 voters at Brewery Vivant. Todd stated that most were Republicans and that most of them had voted for Trump in 2016. Here is some of what the focus group had to say, or you can start at 31:-00 and watch it here:

MIKE WITTMER: I don't even care about it, it's just noise... you know what's going to happen. The House will vote -- Articles of Impeachment. The Senate will probably acquit. And so you know what -- it's already baked in. So it's just not interesting.

CINDY TIMMERMAN: I'm thinkin' it's a done deal with the House. And I -- I agree that -- you know, the Senate will overturn that or -- or vote not to.

PETER SMIT: I think it's fairly straightforward. I think a lot of people see it more as an infomercial politically. And it's -- it's very different than, like, looking back on the Nixon impeachment which was really, really grave at the time. And was by the vote very bipartisan. And this just seems like -- it really is political theatre.

NATE GILLESPIE: I still think it's-- it's merited to understand whether or not the president directed a quid pro quo with Ukraine and all the different things that are surrounding this investigation... and then it began to again feel like the game was already finished, and we were watching a -- a predetermined process that was going to be played for political gain on both sides.

TIM DETWEILER:"I think we're looking at the Republicans posturing themselves. The president tweeting, for example. I don't think those are accidents. I think with great purpose he tweets at 2:00 a.m. to drive the next morning news cycle.

DANTE CHINNI: Does this have any effect on anybody's presidential vote in 2020 one way or the other?

MIKE WITTMER: I wouldn't think so. Because we knew who Trump was when -- when they voted for him.

PETER SMIT: I don't think the impeachment does. I don't think this is shaking the pillars of democracy such that it warrants impeachment. I think my vote is more affected by the current economics situation and balancing that against frankly Trump's personality which is not the best.

TIM DETWEILER: I was going to say for me it's beyond Trump. Trump will come and go. Worst case scenario for some, right, 2024. And I still believe that the Republican answers are the answers to solve some of our country's problems: social, economic, political policies. So I would not necessarily say I'm a Trump voter. But I think the Republican party has the best set of answers.


Then he got into the effect impeachment has on their view of 2020 and literally every single one of them said "well, was it about 2016 or is is about 2020. And they parroted the FOX talking point of it being an investigation into corruption or whether it was wrong but not illegal and impeachable.

This is Marcy Wheeler's neighborhood brewpub. She and some other Michiganders went to the same exact pub and met with voters who ACTUALLY drink at that bar. To say their views were shockingly different would be an understatement. But even more than differing views, it shows that Meet The Press continues to be a cynical farce of a news show pandering to its viewers with a chronic case of "bothsiderism" that helped contribute to Donald Trump's election win in 2016.

Marcy wrote up an excellent post on the experience. Here are some of her observations:

First of all, numerous news outlets noted that the sample was not representative of the voters in the county. The average median income in Kent County is just under $60k, yet the voters in the panel were significantly more affluent. Second, although the panel was being held at Brewery Vivant, it appears to be just a staging location, not a focus group of random customers they interviewed on the spot. That is a huge difference.

So Marcy decided to bring along political reporter Nick Manes and videographer Carl Morrison to do interviews with "totally random" people at the same exact pub. This panel was shockingly different. First of all, the bar is in a very liberal neighborhood, which sort of deflates the MTP panel of all Republicans...because they would not have just strolled into the same pub for drinks. Second, the group of people interviewed by Marcy were significantly more representative of the average income for that area.

Marcy interviewed 6 people total. Here are the clips. I encourage you to watch them.

This is an informative set of interviews. A group of random people interviewed, not a group of people pre-screened who come to a location and don't really represent the area.

Pay attention, Chuck Todd.

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