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Dr. Frank Luntz

Pollster and Political Analyst


What some religious Iowans really think of Donald Trump

Aug 24, 2023


Dr. Frank Luntz

Pollster and Political Analyst


They believe schools are failing our children. They say you can love gay people but disapprove of their lifestyle. They’re convinced the 2020 election was stolen. And they don’t trust our current government. Who are they?

They’re a group of born-again and evangelical Christians from Iowa and, in the latest hour-long episode of America Speaks, they sit down with political analyst and pollster Dr. Frank Luntz to discuss what matters to them most.

You’ll hear their views on public schools, the culture wars, and the upcoming election, but what they have to say about Donald Trump as our next president may surprise you most.

Here in America speaks, we’ve talked to Democrats and Republicans about the Democratic and Republican candidates for President. Voters have very strong opinions and who they like and who they hate. And they’re quite willing to voice them. But after this segments aired, I received a lot of mail from voters dissatisfied with the two political parties, and the candidates they seem to be offering. And in the spirit of listening and learning this week is a very special American speaks. We’ve gathered voters from a dozen states who don’t believe the current crop of presidential front runners are sufficient for them. So let’s listen in as we hear from you with the American people and what you want in your next president. I’m Dr. Frank Luntz and welcome to America speaks, is broken

into leadership till it’s empty.

Somebody else let’s go. The goal.

The goal is to get elected in the state of Michigan.

There’s too much money in the system. And you should, in order to have more honest politicians get the money out of the system.

It says that we’re

pitiful as a country, if that’s the only two candidates we can come up with.

I think it means that as a country as an electorate, we’re, we like some familiarity. I mean, when you look at who’s been in these elections, you know, Clinton and Trump, it’s names that you have heard for 30 years, even though Trump wasn’t political for most of that time. And I think, you know, it’s like, when you go and get a choice of nine cereals, most people are going to go for Frosted Flakes, because they know it that familiar with. And I think that’s where we are with the politicians,

you get the leaders you deserve.

Yeah, Alicia, what does it say about our political system? That we look like we’re gonna re nominate Joe Biden, Donald Trump.

I think there’s too much power in the two party system. And these are we were talking about, you know, we’ve talked about disinformation and things being pushed at us. And I think that’s what’s being pushed at us.

Bridget? Think we’re confused.

I think there’s a sickness in this country. And I think a lot of us are lazy, and Better the devil, you know, than the devil you don’t know. And even if nobody likes Trump and Biden, it’s safer than going with somebody they don’t know. You know, at

this point, it’s like flipping a coin, the two coins that we have and not worth flipping. So flipping another coin is where I’m gonna go.

In some of the national polling that’s taken place over the last few weeks, the percentage of Americans that would like to see a third party candidate should Joe Biden get the Democratic nomination and Donald Trump get the Republican nomination is now approaching 1/4 of the country, and it seems to be gaining every single week. So my first question to you is, what is it about Trump and Biden that so disappoints you that you would support a third party candidate and Eric wanted to start with you.

In 1988, Biden was not a consideration for me, neither was he in 2008, or two or 2020. Trump has never been a consideration for me. So I will vote for boll weevil before I vote for any one of those two.

Craig, what is wrong with the art? likely candidates are the people who are currently leading right now, that would cause to vote for an independent or for somebody else?

Well, Biden seems mentally incapable. So I feel like I don’t know who’s really running the country with him. And with Trump, he’s so divisive, that I find that it turns off rational thought for people that I know are very thoughtful folks. And I think it’s a means into the divisive tone in the country as well.

I’m opening it up to all of you. Explain to me why you’d consider voting for a third party candidate.

Honestly, maybe this year or whenever the election is next year, if it was really Trump and Biden maybe finally a third party candidate would actually have a chance, because I honestly personally can’t see either one of them. To me, Trump physically destroyed this country. He I mean certain things Yeah, he did was good. But to me, he’s the one that divided everybody. He with the fake news with the, you know, the fraud in election. And Biden. I just don’t feel he’s mentally capable of he handling the country. So maybe finally a third party candidate would be good.

Somebody else.

So I’ll take it from a different angle. I think neither of them are really going to get anything done. And they’ve proven that because Trump made all these direct promises that he didn’t keep. And Biden made all these direct promises that he also didn’t keep. And they’re very diametrically opposed promises to it’s not like they’re promising the same thing. But it’s like they just ultimately weren’t able to get done what they wanted to get done either of them. So I’m like, I’ll just that I’ll have someone else try it rather than someone who I know couldn’t get it done their first time. Oh,

Max, couldn’t wait. Can I ask you like, what thing did Trump and Biden did not accomplish? So like sticks out, too?

Yeah. So like, Trump’s whole thing was like build the wall. And like the wall, like it was built like part of it. But like, it wasn’t like as much as like he was hyping it up to be to be honest. And Biden promises like $15 minimum wage and canceling student loan debt. And neither of those things have technically happened yet. I guess they still could. But they haven’t happened yet. So I’m just like, man, neither of them fulfilled their promises, regardless of what their promises were. So just give a third guy a shot.

I was afraid like, what one is our career politician who’s who has borderline dementia. The other one is a tax dodging, you know, a fluent guy who got everything handed down to him, there was an extreme narcissist. And neither party that we have, has, has enough, you know, backbone, to realize nobody wants to vote for you to want to, I mean, the Republican Party in the Democratic Party is they could keep both of them out of out of debt, they could kick them out. The other national national committee came overnight and appoint someone to run. But neither since neither party has the power or the Option, say, the power as the spine to do that, then absolutely, I’d prefer third party candidate because nothing’s gonna get done between either one of them.

Okay, so I want to flip this. That’s the negative while you’re voting against Trump, and by I want to know why you would vote for a third party candidate, what do you think that they would bring us that neither Biden or Trump brings or brings to the table? What’s the positive? What’s the attribute that you’re specifically looking for? Nancy, you can stop.

I am looking for independence. That’s why I like Joe Manchin, because he really focuses on the issues and does not get involved in these party labels. And I feel like sometimes it’s the machine that’s telling them what to do. And I don’t think that mansion does that. And if I hear one more damn politician, say, the American people would this I’m going to scream? Because they don’t know what I want. They don’t know what all of us want. But yet they talk about it like they do and is what to try and get their point across.

That’s the purpose of this session. What do you want? Darlene? What are you looking for? That neither Biden or Trump offers

honesty to the American people when things are going right and honesty to the American people. And

for me, Frank, it’s, I look at those two individuals. And to me, they represent the fringe of, of America, the far left and the far right. And I think there’s a whole swath of people in the middle. And it’s these independents that are often talked about. You can say common sense or whatnot, but that a third party has a potential to represent that major bulk of the country. And my fear with having a third party candidate is can that third party get anything done in Washington, when Congress will still be dominated by two political parties.

And to that point, that’s why the No Labels party I think, can gain some real estate when you have two legitimate individuals and they can take the pic on VP and President larry hogan of Maryland, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, I think that is a ticket that can galvanize this country. And I say that because you know, Hogan came from a state that is traditionally blue, but he was able to win twice as a Republican mansion, as it was already stated. He don’t give a damn what they think about him. Those are type of people you need in office, I think those two individuals will care more about the people than about themselves.

So let’s keep on that theme. What is it that you’re looking for that you’re not getting from either Biden or Trump? Pat?

Well, Biden is incompetent at this point, so I could never vote for him. And Trump is not loyal to the people that work for him in his first administration, so I could never see. backing him again. I voted for the guy twice. Ace, and I just can’t see doing it again. I would probably if if he gets the nomination, and I hope I would does the right thing and knocks him down a peg. Because I really, as a guy, it’s voted. I’m not a Republican, but I voted Republican my whole life. I find it heartbreaking, that that’s the guy that represents, you know, the conservative base of the Republican Party. So I’m hoping I’ll sit it out if if there isn’t a third party, I think,

okay, Iowa. Yes, sir. You’ve been called out? What is it about Trump and Biden that makes you open to a third party entity?

Well, we’ve done it, we’ve done this before. And look at where we are, I think both of them, I can understand how one both of them can represent the fringes. My difficulty with them is I don’t trust either of them. I don’t believe the words that are coming out of their mouths. And what I’m looking for, to turn it to the positive is I’m looking for a candidate that can clearly and honestly articulate what they believe who they are, and a vision for the country that I can that I can get behind. It’s not about you. And with both Biden and Donald Trump, it has been all about them. It just becomes an ego machine and who has the biggest scandal and you know, the 24 hour news cycles, keep on eating it up. We have real problems in this country, and nobody is speaking up and being our voice. And that’s, that’s entirely lost. So what I want is someone that perhaps can come from outside and recognize what it is that we face, as Americans, everyday, hardworking men and women in America, the families, that we’re trying to put food on the table, that we’re trying to raise our kids in freedom, we want a better future for them. And that’s not about ego, they need to represent who we are as Americans.

Richard, can you answer the same questions? What is it about Trump and Biden that are not satisfactory? We have to look for a third candidate.

I agree that we’ve done this before. And it didn’t work. Look where we’re at, individually, I think Biden is a disgrace. Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel about Donald Trump. I don’t trust either one of them. I do think both of them think it’s all about them. And their families. I don’t think anybody cares about a regular person. I want to see a change. I want to see positive change. Even though I think this is a great country, we have to get better. We need better economy. We need better relations between people. We need better foreign policy, we need change, for the better.

So I get that, Alicia is there an attribute that you want more than anything else that neither Trump or Biden offer America? And then I’ll say she’ll go to you next. But Alicia, first, is there some attribute that’s missing? That causes you to consider voting for a third party candidate?

Sorry, yeah. I mean, I want someone that’s an actual progressive. So I want someone that is going to push forward on climate change is going to push forward on some of the things Biden promised but hasn’t done. So someone who can commit to those things.

Okay. That’s what people don’t want with Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Now, let’s hear from what they do want from the next president, what they say will probably surprise you. It certainly surprised me.

What is the attribute that you want most in a president that neither Trump nor Biden is offering us all? Let’s go with you, and then Dirk, and then next.

I think it’s just good management independent of partisanship. I think the problem with it doesn’t have to be Trump or Biden, just a generic, Republican or Democrat is that they have to pander to bases in the primary process. And that’s something that I don’t like, I think the majority of Americans or even a plurality of Americans are a lot like the voices that I hear on this call. They’re moderate. Right. And I think that the only way to do that is by voting for a reasonable third party alternative, like a really great third party alternatives.


I’d say humility, to be able to say you were wrong, we tried something and it failed. And not i We, you know, we tried something we feel are just like, you know, hate to use the cliche, an NFL quarterback when everything is good, you get the credit when everything’s bad, you take the blame. So we use when we succeed eyes when we fail. There’s someone with that type of humility. That’s how you galvanize people and you get people to you know, come into a common record. And hopefully the parties can then you know, maybe do some bipartisanship because there’s that level of humility. And people see that and empathize.

Max, what’s the attribute that’s missing from Trump and Biden, that we so desperately need in this country?

Honestly, someone who’s younger, who’s going to live in the country that they’re building? Because Trump and Biden are both on their way out, they’re not going to ultimately see the long term consequences of the policies they enact.

On their way out. That’s, that’s really rough.

I know that, that sounds tough. That’s tough. That’s, that’s bad. But like, realistically, like, they’re like, What, what’s Trump or Biden gonna look like in 25 years, when their policies like reach their, like long term, like, effects or whatever, you know what I mean? Like, we need a younger person who’s going to actually like, face consequences their whole life, or like their political career if they did something wrong, or like someone who like actually wants to build a better future, because they’ll be living through that future, if that makes sense. And they’d also like to be able to speak more coherently have more like coherent thoughts not be as illness riddled, hopefully as either of them were.

But yeah. Okay, I want three more of you to answer the same question. Stacy, Darlene and Alison, stay with you. What’s the attribute that’s missing?

I would say honesty, unity and growth. I don’t see any of them being honest. They’re not united, they have separated the nation. Right, we have separation, we have arguments. We’re not united. And growth, as Max said, when he’s somebody young, some young blood, somebody that is fired up, understands how it is and wants to go and take this country forward.

Darlene, yeah, keep big business out of it. And also, I’ve always said, I agree with Max at any changes that they want to do. It’s sort of doubtful that I’ll see the privileges in my lifetime, probably my children or grandchildren. But it’s always longevity, that proves policy.

And Allison, the attribute that matters most,

that they actually believe

in we the people and bring people together. And I like what Max said about bringing in somebody younger, who has will reap the benefits or the consequences of actual change. But nobody seems to remember what we the people means anymore. There are some

30% of Democrats say they don’t want them, Biden. 60% of Republicans say they don’t want Trump, either the polls are wrong, or a lot of people are lying. So people make her make a concerted effort to vote for someone other than those two, didn’t either one or the other when

I think a problem also could be like people psyching themselves out like that, like, Oh, if I vote third party, then I’m taking votes away from someone who I maybe like, and then like, so such a wide range of people psych themselves out with that, but the third party just gets like a 1% vote and everyone’s like, Oh, I was right. I knew it wouldn’t go nowhere. But like, if everyone like didn’t doubt themselves, it probably would be like a lot higher than 1% sort of deal.

If that makes sense.

I agree with Paul, it’s a numbers game. I know, as a New Yorker, my vote in the presidential doesn’t matter. And the same can be said in California. And the same can be said in a dozen red states if you’re a Democrat. But in those purple states, maybe a state like Pennsylvania, where it goes back and forth. A third party candidate can make a huge difference.

Right? Look at this group right here.

Michigan makes a difference. Pennsylvania makes a difference. Iowa makes a difference. Arizona makes a difference. I want to ask each of you to give me an example of a third party candidate, anybody you want. That is compelling to you that that would would make you definitely vote for a third point. I know a lot of you are undecided when we when you join this group. Can you give me some example of a candidate that you’d like to see run as a third party? Anybody here?

Dwayne Johnson. Really? The rock? Yeah. Oh

my God. Have you seen his show? He’s terrific. I wish he really would run for president.

That’s how I got Donald Trump. Ronald Reagan.

Got me somebody alive. Somebody’s real. Stop telling. Cornel West doing mushrooms Stop doing hallucinogenics exist anymore. Okay, who wants to give me another candidate or the same one? All Go

ahead, John Huntsman.

Why Huntsman

when he ran in 20, I think it was 16 or 2012. Right. I really enjoyed his campaign, I thought his experience as a governor, as well as ambassador to China, is what’s needed in today’s political climate and the fact that he is Republican. But he seems to be socially liberal, I think has a chance to unite this country in a way that the other candidates running don’t have.

Darlene give

me a name,

calling out Cornel West.

Tell me why.


he’s kind of people aren’t really that familiar with him? I think he’s got a very strong personality. I think he’d have a great following. And I think he could win.

Give me another name somebody RFK since I brought him up,

why RFK? He seems to be a critical thinker. And he can he’s he’s got values. And he’s very passionate and thoughtful about the way he describes them. He’s willing to do two to three hours, almost anyone. There’s still other issues that I’m looking into with him, but I think he’s pretty interesting.

Chris, somebody,

Condoleezza Rice,

tell me why,

I think and she’s got she’s got the chops she served. I believe she was secretary of state’s she’s been in the private sector. I’m her wealth of experience. I just

think she would be perfect.

Give me another name.

Larry Hogan, or

Joe Manchin, because they’re both. They both have the history of executives, and they don’t put themselves before the country, the state or the policy.

Any other names?

Did on Nancy. Nancy, Larry Hogan and Joe Manchin.

Okay, and why do you like them?

I think for some of the same reasons, Nancy just stated do I think they are they feel that for match, I don’t think he can be bought. That’s what I like about him. Larry Hogan, he has the ability to have people cross come across party lines to vote for him, which he did twice in Maryland. And I think we need someone that can appeal to both sides to the Ohio or the ideologies for which people are caught up in when it comes to the two party system. Anybody else?

Name is second person? Yes.

Bernie Sanders. I know he ran for Democratic nomination twice. But he’s an independent. He seems to get a lot of attention from folks now who are Republican too. And if you ran third party, jerk Mark Cuban.

I bought for Cuban Cuban. I mean, He epitomizes what America is as far as what it aspires to be. He’s, he was an entrepreneur Maverick. And he’s fairly conservative, but he’s also moderate, and he can relate to common people. And that’s what you would want it your person to represent your country is as what the President is.

Okay, Allison, why Cuban?

For all of the same reasons, I think he gets the job done. I think he’s a leader and I think he couldn’t be bought.

It’s important, in fact, essential to emphasize that much of this conversation about wanting someone other than Joe Biden and Donald Trump isn’t about what people are for, but about what they are against. We certainly hear the frustration with the current system, as well as the hope that things can and will get better. After all, this is America. So on behalf of America speaks on straight arrow news. I’m Dr. Frank Luntz. Have a great day

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