Press Release

Working America Report: Iowa Swing Voters Still Open to Trump,  Democratic Base Worried about 2020


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Working America released its newest Front Porch Focus Group report exploring the views of more than 300 Iowa Democratic base and swing voters in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Going door to door, Working America ‒ the 3-million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO ‒ engaged in doorstep conversations with hundreds of voters in cities such as Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Cedar Falls, as well as smaller communities such as Dyersville. The findings reveal a nervous electorate either supporting President Donald Trump or unsure of how to beat him. Voters also shared qualities they’re looking for in their next president, what issues are important to them and Democrats’ prospects against Trump.

“We got to hear what is really on Iowans’ minds about the presidential election. Democratic voters are eager to replace Trump, but deeply nervous about his re-election prospects in Iowa ‒ and for good reason,” said Matt Morrison, the executive director of Working America. “We found Trump has as much support with swing voters as all Democrats combined. Half of Democratic base voters are not confident the Democrat will win in 2020. Yet, we see there is real opportunity for significant electoral gains among these swing and Democratic base voters meeting them at their doors, on their terms with the type of economic agenda that instills confidence in the future.”

Working America’s Front Porch Focus Group reports combine the scale of a public opinion poll with the texture of a focus group, allowing us to pinpoint trends early on through qualitative and quantitative analysis. This type of approach and immersion in working-class communities made Working America among the first to report on Trump’s appeal among white working-class voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania (January 2016).

Notable findings from the report include:

  1. One in 5 swing voters (21%) already say they will back President Trump in 2020. Yet, the electorate is still largely up for grabs, with a large portion of Democratic base voters (42%) and more than half of swing voters (53%) undecided on who they support for president.
  2. While the Democratic base is consolidated in opposition to Trump, our conversations revealed widespread anxiety and uncertainty about Democrats’ prospects of defeating the president in 2020, and a lack of consensus on which candidate could best compete against Trump. Indeed, just under half of Democratic base voters are confident their party will win in 2020 (49%), while more than 4 in 10 (41%) said they were unsure about the next election.
  3. Consistent with what we heard from Iowans in May 2018, disaffection with politicians continues, especially among swing voters. Close to half of swing voters say it makes no difference to their economic prospects if Democrats or Republicans hold power, and similar numbers cannot name an elected official who is fighting for them.
  4. Showing no signs of abating before 2020, health care is the top issue for both Democratic base and swing voters.
  5. Iowans hold some of the grimmest views of personal economic well-being in the country, and Democrats will need to re-establish credibility on the issue of jobs and the economy.
  6. Frustrated by politicians who parachute in for campaigns, Iowans are looking for presidential candidates who understand the complexity of their state.

Finally, the newest Front Porch Focus Group report provides key takeaways for Democrats seeking to win back working-class voters and position themselves as a plausible rival for Trump in 2020.

With more than 27,600 members across Iowa’s 99 counties, Working America mobilizes voters in Iowa’s cities as well as smaller and more rural communities to join with their neighbors to fight for good jobs and a fair economy. As the 3-million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, Working America unites working people who don’t have the benefit of a union on the job around a shared economic agenda.

You can read Working America’s newest report, “Conversations with Likely Democratic Base and Swing Voters Reveal Nervous Electorate in Iowa,” and its previous reports here.

Nora Langan
[email protected]
(202) 638-628

Since 2003, Working America has mobilized working people who don’t have the benefit of a union at work to fight for good jobs and a fair economy. As the 3-million member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, we unite working people in urban and suburban communities around a shared economic agenda. For more information, visit


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