Donald Trump is a brand, and his New Hampshire supporters are itching to buy it.
A Bloomberg Politics focus group of 12 Republican and independent voters who are supportive of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy shed light Wednesday night on the billionaire's swift rise to the top of the GOP field, and confirmed that his brash, “You're fired!” style and lack of experience in politics is more of an asset than a liability.
“He says it like it is,” said Jessica, a data analyst, said during the focus group in the first-in-the-nation primary state, conducted by Purple Strategies at St. Anselm College in Manchester. “He speaks the truth.”
“He's willing to tell you his opinion,” Andrew, an educator, said. “So many other politicians won't take an opinion.”
Many said Trump's success in the business world appealed to them.
“Business, we need business and I like his roughness,” said Danielle, a financial-planning consultant, adding, “He's just tough, we need someone tough.”
“Donald Trump is strong,” Nick, a home inspector, said. “He carries a sentiment and frustrations that I think a lot of Americans are going through and feeling right now. He's the one that's able to articulate that, and bring those frustrations to light. I believe him when he talks.”
In a 90-minute conversation with With All Due Respect managing editor John Heilemann, the voters, five of whom identified themselves as members of the Tea Party, were unanimous in saying that they'd learned about Trump before his entry into the presidential race. Most said they had gotten some knowledge of the billionaire through his business dealings and before his Apprentice reality-television stint.
“I was a little girl, and I didn't even know what Trump Towers were, but I knew that he was a wealthy, successful man and I remember asking my mother if I could write him a letter to ask him how he made his money,” Jessica said.
Though Trump's considerable wealth—which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates at $2.9 billion—resonated with those who participated in the focus group, many seemed to regard him as being on the same page as ordinary Americans.