Opinion: Undecided voters discuss Biden and Trump town halls

Frank Luntz, a Republican polling expert, convened a virtual focus group of around 15 undecided voters from swing states to assess the competing Biden and Trump town-hall-style meetings on Oct. 15, simultaneously broadcast by ABC News and NBC News, respectively.

Participants were told: “You can watch one or both of them — it’s entirely up to you. We want you to watch exactly what you would have if we were not conducting a focus group.”

With less than three weeks before Election Day, there may not be many swing voters, but nonetheless they could remain a significant force in this election. Luntz selected participants for this focus group only if they met all of the following criteria: They are currently registered to vote in one of 11 swing states; they self-described as “possible” Biden or Trump voters; they defined themselves as independents; and they considered themselves “undecided.” Participants are compensated $100 each for their time.

Luntz has conducted televised focus groups for major news outlets since 1996. He is not working for any presidential candidate or political party in the 2020 election.

Along with Luntz, The Times asked Nicholas Goldberg, associate editor and Op-Ed columnist, to ask questions of the focus group and to provide analysis. Goldberg served as editorial page editor from 2009 to 2020.


4:22 PM, May 25, 2021
For the record:
A biographical note accompanying this video of a focus group incorrectly stated that the public opinion expert who convened the panel, Frank Luntz, did not work for a political party in the 2020 election cycle. It has emerged that Luntz’s company did paid work for a political action committee led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the House minority leader, in 2020.