Focus groups: 'Walmart moms' sour on economy

Focus groups taking the political pulse of so-called “Walmart Moms” found a bloc of swing voters who are frustrated by a lack of progress on the economy.

The research, conducted by two prominent political polling firms on behalf of Walmart, also reveals disappointment in President Obama and uncertainty about presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“We had women in both [focus] groups say they wanted to combine the candidates,” says Democratic pollster Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis. “They want to combine the business experience of Mitt Romney and the warmth and acceptability of Obama.”

Omero’s firm teamed with Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies to conduct the research on Walmart moms, defined as “female voters with children age 18 or younger at home, who shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month.”

The latest focus groups took place in cities in two battleground states—Denver, Colo. and Phoenix, Ariz.

In Colorado, which has been one of the busiest states for campaign ads so far this cycle, focus group participants said they’re already tuning out political spots given the high volume.

“Moms in both groups call political advertising ‘annoying’ or ‘noise,’” according to a memo detailing the findings. “They find advertising from outside advocacy groups even more confusing and off-putting.”  

Two other key findings: Walmart moms are unhappy with Obama’s job performance and want the president to “admit some faults” when it comes to the direction of the economy; and moms want some more openness and warmth from Romney.   

“It may be difficult to reach these moms, but convention speechwriters should note what Walmart moms want to hear from the candidates,” the memo from POS and Momentum Analysis concludes. “President Obama has to make the case that he can and will do a better job in fixing the economy, while Mitt Romney has to find a way to connect on a more personal level.”

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