In the leadup to the midterm elections, Congressional Republicans expressed interest in conducting a number of investigations if they were to regain power in one or both chambers of Congress. These investigations include the legal issues and business dealings surrounding Hunter Biden, Anthony Fauci and the handling of the pandemic, the way immigration at the border has been handled, the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
In our latest Swing Voter Project focus groups, conducted November 9th with 12 “Trump-to-Biden” voters from Georgia, they made it clear that if Republicans retake the House, as expected, they aren’t interested in having them conduct a wide array of political investigations that don’t focus on the issues that matter most to them. Of the five issues, the only one that garnered any support was investigating the way immigration at the border has been handled; a slight majority – seven of 12 – would support this investigation.
Respondents explained why they have no interest in an investigation about the legal issues and business dealings surrounding Hunter Biden.
“I mean, if it wasn’t Biden’s son, I don’t think anybody would give a damn,” said Andy, 41, from Woodstock, GA. “But the fact that it’s Joe Biden’s son is the reason that it’s taking up so much rent in everyone’s head.”
Susan, 64, from Augusta, GA, echoed that sentiment: “If his name was Hunter Smith, they wouldn’t be investigating. It’s all the fact that he’s the son of President Biden. There are so many more issues to focus on.”
Melissa, 40, from Rex, GA, shared a similar viewpoint, explaining, “We have more pressing issues at hand that we should be focusing on, like letting these teenagers get guns and how there’s so much crime going on. It’s a lot of things that we can be focusing on instead of going back to something that has happened.”
Respondents also explained why they don’t want to spend time investigating Anthony Fauci and the handling of the pandemic.
Steve, 42, from Flowery Branch, GA, explained, “Do I think everything went good during the pandemic? No. Everybody messed up. It was ambiguous decision-making. People screwed up, but they acted in good faith, and they were trying to do the best they could in an ever-changing situation. Move on. God, it’s so tiring. I mean both sides are so stupid about this. Just forgive people, understand we’re imperfect, and if they’re apologetic and trying to do the best they can in the moment, forgive and move on and let’s handle some issues that matter now.”
“It’s like a slap in the face to us,” commented Bianca, 26, from Atlanta. “It’s like, ‘OK, we feel like this is more important than what you guys have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and what you guys have to overcome.’ I don’t understand what the outcome of it would actually [do] for us.”
“[Congress is going to] spend millions of dollars doing [an investigation into Anthony Fauci]?” asked Jennifer, 61, from Atlanta. “[Fauci] has had 30 years of service to try to eradicate viruses and do right by the United States. Ridiculous.”
Matt, 38, from Atlanta, added, “That’s precious time that they’re losing that they could be focusing on more pressing issues.”
Notably, our swing voters also expressed no appetite for impeaching President Biden or Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Their message was clear: Focus on the present and the future, and forget about water under the bridge.
Rich Thau is the president of the research firm Engagious, which specializes in message testing and message refinement for trade associations and advocacy groups. He is also the moderator of the Swing Voter Project, conducted in partnership with Schlesinger Group. Matt Steffee is vice president of research services at Engagious.