Luntz Focus Group: Compassionate Bachmann Won

Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011 11:19 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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A focus group gathered by pollster Frank Luntz a day after the GOP New Hampshire debate declared Tuesday the clear winner was Michele Bachmann. The picture painted by the group — which consisted of both Republicans and Democrats — was of a caring woman who was sure of her social values.

Luntz canvassed the room and asked members of the diverse group, assembled by Fox News for Sean Hannity's show, to describe their reactions to Bachmann in a single phrase. All comments were positive:

“Warm.” “Compassionate.” “Underestimated.” “In synch with the American people’s needs.” “She was clear, she was sure.” “Genuine.” “A leader.” “Confident.” “Knowledgeable.”

One man noted that Bachmann’s performance in the debate showed she was in tune with the American public.

“She speaks for so many of the American people who feel that the government has taken away — they are not listening to us — big government doesn’t work and she’s telling us she understands,” he said.

Luntz played a clip from the debate where Bachmann outlines her definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and the best possible way to raise children is with a mother and father in their lives.

The comments played well with both the audience at the debate and with Luntz’s group. Luntz asked what in Bachmann’s statements was so positive.

“Well, kids aren’t a social experiment — they’re not,” one man told Luntz. “They’re kids — they need a proper family, which is a man and a woman. It’s pretty cut and dry.”

Another man said Bachmann sounds “old school” in terms of traditional values, with which he agrees. “And I think it is a good thing,” he said.

The fact that Bachman raised 23 foster children in addition to five of her own resonated with the crowd.

“I think it puts her money where her mouth is,” a woman said. “Because she is actually going out, and she has these foster kids. A lot of people say marriage should be between a man and a woman, but they’re not out there adopting or fostering other children. So she’s actually doing that.”


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