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Bipartisan Group Of Pittsburgh Voters Express Disappointment In Trump's Leadership Skills

Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, where his advisers reportedly often scramble to reshape policy to catch up with Trump's tweets and public declarations.

A focus group of 12 Pittsburgh voters expressed bipartisan disappointment in Donald Trump's leadership skills as president. The group consisted of five Trump voters, six Hillary Clinton voters and one person who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The focus group was led by pollster Peter Hart, who is responsible for analyses often featured in NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. The Pittsburgh study was the first in a series for Emory University called "Conversations with America," in which Hart is slated to talk to a diverse selection of citizens in different cities about a broad array of current events.

When the conversation turned to Trump in the Pittsburgh group, Hart said everyone addressed concern over the president's behavior. His supporters in the group described the Trump as "unprofessional" and an "abject disappointment."

"What surprised me in this group was that there was a real sense of embarrassment with the President," Hart said.

Donald Trump won Pennsylvania in the 2016 election by about 44,000 votes, making him the first Republican to carry the state since 1988. Allegheny County went to Clinton with a 16-point margin.

Poll results from the end of August show Trump's approval rating at slightly above 37 percent, while his disapproval rating is at more than 57 percent.

Christina Lees, an independent who said she voted for Trump in the election, told Hart that "everybody knew [Trump] was a nut," but she'd hoped he would become more professional in the job.

"I look to a president to be presidential," said Brian Rush, another Trump voter. "He's let me down."

Hart said the focus group discussed how Trump has responded to situations like white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, N.C., and deadly flooding in Houston. Their consensus, he said, is that both events were mishandled. Many voiced concern over Trump's frequent Twitter use.

While focus groups don't represent a community as a whole, Hart said he believes these Pittsburgh voters hold the same opinions of many Americans.

According to him, none of the 12 group members consider themselves die-hard Trump supporters. Some cast their votes to make an anti-Clinton statement, others said they were hoping Trump would keep his campaign promises and support blue collar workers.

"These people were saying, 'I voted for somebody different, and I did not expect this,'" Hart said. "That opinion isn't based on the problems he's addressing, but in the way in which he's approaching the office."

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.