The Focus Group with Sarah Longwell-logo

The Focus Group with Sarah Longwell

News & Politics Podcasts

Unfiltered, uncompromising, unexpected—The Focus Group is a look into what the average voter thinks about politics, policy, and current events. Sarah Longwell, publisher of The Bulwark, has conducted hundreds of hours of focus groups all across the country. She and a series of special guests will take you behind the glass to hear what real focus group participants have to say.

Unfiltered, uncompromising, unexpected—The Focus Group is a look into what the average voter thinks about politics, policy, and current events. Sarah Longwell, publisher of The Bulwark, has conducted hundreds of hours of focus groups all across the country. She and a series of special guests will take you behind the glass to hear what real focus group participants have to say.

Location:

United States

Description:

Unfiltered, uncompromising, unexpected—The Focus Group is a look into what the average voter thinks about politics, policy, and current events. Sarah Longwell, publisher of The Bulwark, has conducted hundreds of hours of focus groups all across the country. She and a series of special guests will take you behind the glass to hear what real focus group participants have to say.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Pennsylvania Primary: The Dude, the Doctor, and a MAGA Queen

5/14/2022
The Pennsylvania Senate race might just be the craziest of 2022. There’s a Bernie guy who looks like a Trump guy (Lt. Gov. John Fetterman) and a Trump guy who looks like a Biden guy (Dave McCormick). There’s also Doctor Oz and an ultra-ultra-MAGA candidate surging late. POLITICO’s Philadelphia-based national political reporter Holly Otterbein joins Sarah to listen to voters make sense of this madness. Want to listen without ads? Bulwark+ members get exclusive access to the ad-free version of...

Duration:00:46:09

Unfiltered and Uncut: Special Episode

5/9/2022
Sarah has Covid, so we're doing something a little different this week. Rather than bring on a guest and combine analysis with clips from focus groups, we're giving you an hour of unfiltered audio from North Carolina and Alabama Trump voters. Want to listen without ads? Bulwark+ members get access to an exclusive, ad-free version of the show. Learn more here: https://plus.thebulwark.com/p/how-do-i-add-a-bulwark-member-only?s=w Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:53:54

Ohio: A MAGA Murderers’ Row (with Dave Weigel)

5/2/2022
Folks: it’s primary season! The Ohio U.S. Senate primary is tomorrow, and it’s been…less than nice. Two candidates had to be physically separated at a recent debate. Now, Trump has picked his horse in the race…listen to hear what the voters think of the Trump endorsement and whether the most insane things the candidates are saying are crossing people’s radars (spoiler alert: no). Sarah breaks it all down with Dave Weigel of The Washington Post, who’s been on the trail in Ohio during the home...

Duration:00:40:36

Andrew Yang: Will Trump and Biden Birth a Third Party?

4/25/2022
In 2024, we may be re-running the 2020 election with two very unpopular and very old candidates. Seems like a good time for a viable third party option, right? Former presidential candidate and founder of the Forward Party Andrew Yang joins Sarah to listen to some focus group clips about third parties, talk about the challenges a third party faces, and whether it’s even a good idea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:56

The Asterisk Follows Us (with Dr. Ted Johnson)

4/18/2022
Supreme Court nominations are polarizing nowadays, and President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was no exception. Dr. Ted Johnson of The Bulwark joins Sarah to discuss how voters reacted to Jackson (and to President Biden pledging ahead of time to pick a black woman for the seat). They also discuss why conversations about race in this country can get real unproductive real fast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:06

Running in Mud (with Robert Gibbs)

4/11/2022
Joe Biden’s approval rating is around 42%. That didn’t happen without Biden losing some of his own voters. Sarah sits down with President Obama’s former White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs to listen to some Biden voters talk about the state of the country and the Biden presidency. They also discuss how (and whether) Biden and Democrats might salvage their political fortunes in the 2022 elections. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:46:46

When Bad Guys Think They’re Good Guys (with Rep. Adam Kinzinger)

4/4/2022
Most of the GOP hasn’t responded to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol with much courage. But our guest has. This week, Sarah talks with Rep. Adam Kinzinger about our focus groups’ reactions to the attacks (including the conspiracy theories) and whether they think President Trump was responsible. They also discuss the work of the January 6th Committee (of which Kinzinger and Liz Cheney are the only Republican members), and the cost of doing the right thing even when it’s unpopular....

Duration:00:47:21

It Just Didn’t Smell Right (with Benjamin Ginsberg)

3/28/2022
Donald Trump convinced about a third of the country that the 2020 election was rigged - this is commonly referred to as the “Big Lie.” It sure seems like a problem to Sarah. Ben Ginsberg, former legal counsel to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, joins Sarah to listen to both MAGA voters and swing voters talk about the Big Lie. We cover how MAGA voters think the election was stolen, how swing voters talk to their MAGA family members, and what Ben thinks might be...

Duration:00:49:20

The Truth is Somewhere In Between (with Dr. Leana Wen)

3/21/2022
After over 2 years, the American people are over COVID — but is the pandemic over? CNN medical analyst and WaPo contributor Dr. Leana Wen joins Sarah to talk about how MAGA, Swing, and Dem voters are thinking about the COVID-19 Pandemic, everything from masks, to vaccines, to the CDC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:43:14

Babushkas with AK-47s (and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman)

3/14/2022
We have…good news? Trump fans love Zelensky and hate Putin. You may remember Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his testimony in President Trump’s first impeachment – the impeachment that happened because of a phone call with the now-historic President Zelensky. Today Vindman joins Sarah to talk about the situation in Ukraine and how voters are thinking about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:31

Inflation? Ludicrous! (with Jonathan V. Last)

3/7/2022
While the American people are mad about inflation, our guest is (mostly) mad at the American people. Sarah and The Bulwark’s own Jonathan V. Last listen to the inflation discussions from our recent GOP and Democratic focus groups. Find out who everyone blames and what Joe Biden could do to turn around public sentiment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:43:08

Who Has the Cojones? (With Mark McKinnon)

2/28/2022
The Focus Group is back for season 2! Sarah kicks off the season with Democratic-turned-Republican strategist Mark McKinnon to talk about Mark’s adopted party (the Republican Party) in his adopted home state (Texas). Sarah and Mark discuss how our group of Texas Republicans feel about Trump, January 6th, the Bush family, and the Texas primaries for Governor and Attorney General. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:44:07

Bonus Episode with Charlie Sykes

11/1/2021
The first season of the Focus Group podcast is over, but we'll be back in 2022! If you're still itching for another peek behind the glass, we have a very special bonus episode available exclusively to Bulwark+ members: https://plus.thebulwark.com/p/the-focus-group-bonus-episode-whats Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:00:57

“It’s kind of an ‘oh s**t’ moment”: James Carville on the Virginia Governor's Race

10/25/2021
Legendary political consultant James Carville joins Sarah to discuss a focus group with undecided independent voters ahead of the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election. Sarah and James also discuss the Democratic Party’s messaging problem, Trump, and the craziest Republican members of Congress. What candidate will these voters choose and how will the race wind up according to the voters on the ground? Listen to find out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:43:56

Where is the Democratic Party going? (with David Shor)

10/18/2021
David Shor, Data Scientist at Blue Rose Research, joins Sarah to take a deeper dive into what is happening within the Democratic Party. Sarah and David discuss how voters have shifted in recent presidential elections, the Biden presidency, 2022 midterms, and more. Listen for what Democrats need to think about if they want the best outcome in 2022. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:48:57

Malaise 2.0: Democrats grade Biden (with Jonathan V. Last)

10/11/2021
Jonathan V. Last, editor at The Bulwark, joins Sarah to discuss a focus group with progressive and moderate Democrats in Pennsylvania. They voted for Biden in 2020, but how do they think he is doing as President nine months in? Sarah and JVL also discuss the group’s thinking about the economy, Pennsylvania’s upcoming Senate race, and more. Listen to find out if JVL has a full-on meltdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:36:03

Miller versus MAGA (with Tim Miller)

10/4/2021
Tim Miller, writer-at-large at The Bulwark, joins Sarah to discuss focus groups with Trump supporters in Ohio and Georgia, two states that feature crucial 2022 Senate races with Trump-endorsed candidates. Hear what they’re thinking about Josh Mandel, Herschel Walker, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:17

The Republican Triangle of Doom (with Bill Kristol)

9/27/2021
Bill Kristol, Director of Defending Democracy Together and conservative political commentator, joins Sarah for a focus group with conservative, yet reluctant, 2020 Trump and third-party voters in swing states across the country. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:43:04

Episode 1: Political Unicorns (with Amy Walter)

9/17/2021
Amy Walter, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, joins Sarah for a focus group with the most coveted portion of the American electorate -- swing state voters who switched from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:48:08