this is how we work now so. I’ve received a lot of encouragement around the country from people that that cr particular style of leadership. And we’re going to. We’re going to continue to reflect very deeply on entering that national that’s former vice president Mike pence yesterday, teasing a potential presidential run suggesting that Republican voters want to see him run for president in 2024. We should note that comes along and monmouth university survey that showed pence’s likeability among GOP voters slipped over the last month down from 55.
In February , 2023 to 42% in March and according to our next guest, a focus group of Republican voters also had some harsh words for the former vice president. Their views are part of this atlantic story headline is quote. Nobody likes Mike pence. One voter of the 34 that were surveyed commenting. I don’t care for him.
He’s just middle of the road to me. If there was someone halfway better, I would not vote for him. And quote. He’s only going to get the vote from his family, and I’m not even sure if they like him. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for pence pushed back heavily on the story .
That’s harsh quotes. They’re saying quote Mike pence has in the last two years traveling to more than 30 states, campaigning for dozens of candidates and listening to potential voters. Those interactions have been incredibly positive and encouraging, and we place more value in those experience. Than a focus group conducted by disgruntled former Republicans paid for by an anti Republican group and essentially leaked to the atlantic, which recently declared that the GOP is just obnoxious.
Do people even tried to hold hide their ulterior motives anymore.
Once again, that is a statement coming from pence’s team. Also joining us now is Mckay coppins, who is a staff writer for the atlantic who observed the focus group has these quotes, experiences voters? Mckay I just want to note quickly because of what alluded to in that statement there um, the focus groups and the costs are split between the bulwark and the Republican accountability project. Those are two anti trump organizations that she’s affiliated with you note that in your story, so you do put all that background there . But let’s just start with what you saw what you heard from these from these Republican voters.
Yeah, it was really interesting. You know, the Republicans that I listened to, and it was actually a several focus groups. They all rejected the idea of Mike pence president candidacy with a couple exceptions and for all different reasons, so strong trump supporters were alienated by pence because of his refusal to obstruct the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th.
Less trump inclined. Republicans said that they felt pence was tarnished by his time in the administration.
All of the Republicans suggested in one way or another that they felt pence was weak or lacked conviction. And just to give you one data point of the 34 Republicans across four focus groups that I heard discussed pence’s perspective candidacy. Only four said they would even consider pence as president and two of them immediately started to backpedal after initially indicating interest that you sort of answered the next question that I had Mckay and that is the trump administration or if the affiliation with trump has damaged him and being with the administration being, you know a loyal soldier, but then at the end, not doing what trump wanted him to do that and overturned the election. It is hurting him in on two different fronts. It’s a tough thing for him to have to navigate.
Yeah, that’s right, and a number of voters pointed this out. They said, look, whatever you think of trump.
Nobody that I know. Likes Mike pence that you know what one voter actually said he has no constituency. It’s over.
It’s retirement time, and I think that reflected kind of the consensus view of him. What was especially interesting is there was one group I listened to was consisted entirely of conservative evangelical Christians who presumably might like Mike pence’s persona, which is rooted in the religious right. Even all of them rejected pence as a prospective candidate , saying that either that he was too weak or that he was, you know, not a fighter, and in many cases, they noted that he was a nice guy, strong and honest, decent guy in their view, but that that didn’t make him necessarily a good presidential candidate. Honest, decent guide doesn’t make a good presidential candidate that’s really telling in and of itself. What I found so fascinating because you’ve been following him since you profiled him in 2017.
Is it? You talk to voters all across the country, so this was not just one sort of geographical location. You went from? Suburban Atlanta to rural Illinois to San Diego. And I wonder to don’s great point.
Is it sort of the people that you heard from these focus groups? Republican voters feel like he’s trying to have it both ways, and you just can’t have it both ways. You’re either in trump’s camp or you’re out, but he’s kind of both. Depending on what you asked him about the former president. I think that’s right.
I think this was the fundamental miscalculation that Mike pence made right. He thought that by being incredibly loyal, incredibly willing to cover for trump to defend trump to offer fawning praise of trump throughout his presidency, he would win goodwill with the trump base. And then on January 6th and you know to his credit. I won’t try to read into his motives. It’s possible that he genuinely thought he was doing the right thing by breaking with trump on January 6th.
But he did it so late that he didn’t win that much credit from the less Maga inclined Republicans either.
And so I think all of these Republicans regardless of where they are on the kind of ideological spectrum or where they are on trump, all of them sensed opportunism when they saw pence and you know, voters just don’t like that they want a candidate who they think is following his gut and doing what he thinks is right and they don’t see that when they look at Mike pence. I think it remains to be seen. We have to see the full shape of the 2024 field and see what, even officially running it.
Well, yeah, he’s not officially running, etc.
What voters decide obviously don’t want to get to the dissenters stuff because because obviously pence’s dealing with that feeling navigating that, so we’re people like governor Desantis, and he is speaking out in his most wide ranging criticism we have seen of trump , yet he responded to some of the nicknames that trump gave him. Your favorite nickname that trump’s given you so far as it run, Rhonda, sanctimonious or meatball rock. Why can’t even he went off meatball wrong? I can’t I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious. I don’t really know what it means.
But you know, I kind of like it’s long.
It’s got a lot of valve. I mean, so we go with that. That’s fine. You know, you can call me and you can call me whatever you want.
I mean, just as long as you, you know, also call me a winner. Make it. What do you make of that? And also I’m going after talking about trump’s character, his leadership. And the direct criticisms we’re seeing.
I think the Santis is trying to walk a fine line and these focus groups voters repeatedly expressed that they didn’t like that trump was constantly attacking other Republican candidates. Other Republican figures they want party loyalty. They want party solidarity, and they liked that Desantis has managed to avoid being in the fray with trump, so I think he’s if he’s going to end up running against trump is going to have to draw that