'He was a clown': Former Trump voter explains why they're never supporting him again
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Michigan. (Shutterstock.com)

A new focus group of battleground state voters who backed former President Donald Trump in 2016 and then switched to President Joe Biden in 2020 made clear that for most of them, going back to Trump would be unthinkable, reported The Washington Post on Monday.

"Every single one said they wished Biden and his old Republican foe Donald Trump were not running for reelection. Several offered dire assessments of Biden’s mental and physical capacities, calling him too old or speculating about the possibility of dementia," reported Michael Scherer, Emily Guskin, and Scott Clement. "But as the focus group moderator steered the conversation to the possibility of a Biden rematch next year with Trump, the mood clearly shifted among these voters, who had all cast a ballot for Trump in 2016 and then Biden in 2020. Nine of the 15 said they would vote again for Biden, three said they would go back to Trump and three said they would either not vote or find a third-party candidate."

Many of the voters used words like “nervous,” “scared,” “shocked,” “sick,” and “horrified” when asked how they would feel if Trump were re-elected. A Wisconsin voter identified as Scott said he would “feel like I was living in Nazi Germany.” Eureka, an unemployed nurse in Georgia, said she initially backed Trump because she felt America needed "something new" but that “He was a mess. He was a clown. Somebody had to clean up after him.”

Focus groups are not a representative sample of voters, like a poll. However, attitudes like these can offer insight into a mysterious divide in polling that has emerged over the years: Biden has fairly weak popularity, with voters disapproving of him by over 10 points in the FiveThirtyEight polling aggregate, but polls almost all show Biden winning re-election if Trump is the nominee.

READ MORE: Former Trump lawyer may be 'waving a red flag' that he wants to cooperate with DOJ: legal expert

The same polls show that Biden is also no worse than tied, or often still leading, against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump's most prominent challenger for 2024 — and the focus group also hinted at why this may be the case.

"As DeSantis prepares a formal announcement of his campaign, Trump’s leading challenger for the nomination did not perform any better in a hypothetical head-to-head with Biden. The focus group voters cited his controversial positions in Florida and governing style as reasons for turning away from him. A majority of the participants chose Biden in that scenario, with a handful taking DeSantis or saying they were undecided," said the report. "Lisa is a previous resident of Florida, where she said she had once voted for DeSantis. 'Someone had said he was a mini-Trump. I have to agree with that. I mean, he’s very divisive also,' she said. 'He would separate the country.'"