In 2008, Public Opinion Strategies identified Walmart Moms as a key "swing voter" sub‐group. Discovered at the height of the economic recession, we tracked this voter group through the election to see how these moms would ultimately break in the voting booth. We discovered that Walmart Moms pulled the lever for Barack Obama and the Democrats, and were, in the end, critical to Democratic success in 2008.
Again, as the 2010 election heated up, Walmart was curious as to whether moms shopping at their stores were still an "up‐for‐grabs" voting bloc, so Public Opinion Strategies and Momentum Analysis (acquired by Purple Strategies in 2013) tracked this sub-group from May through November 2010.
In May of 2010, a majority of moms approved of the job Obama was doing and leaned somewhat Democratic on a variety of measures. By September 2010, they started to lean Republican, and by November Walmart moms voted decidedly for Republicans in the midterm elections. They established themselves as a key swing voting bloc.
Going into the 2012 election cycle, Public Opinion Strategies and Momentum Analysis once again tracked Walmart Moms to monitor their attitudes towards the President and Congress and the issues that matter most to these women. While 2010 leaned heavily on quantitative research (surveys) with some qualitative (focus groups), in the 2012 cycle the reverse was true.
The two firms conducted in-depth research with over 1,200 Walmart Moms during the 2012 cycle, using a variety of research mediums including telephone surveys and sixteen in-person and online focus groups to explore what these moms care about and what they expect from their elected officials. This included live dial groups to capture moms' real-time reactions to the 2012 presidential debates, and an election night survey to determine which way Walmart Moms ultimately swung this election cycle. (In June 2012 and during one of the three debate dial groups, we convened groups that comprised only Latina Walmart Moms.)
Our research during this cycle showed Walmart Moms were still very much undecided in their vote for President. Of particular note during this election cycle, three critical issues were driving the "Walmart Mom" vote: the economy, health care, and education.
As we spoke with Walmart Moms across the country we saw them visibly grappling with their decision on how to vote for President. They felt Obama inherited a difficult situation, but the economy was simply not improving quickly enough. On the other hand, many moms thought Romney had the experience needed to get the economy back on track, though they worried that he did not understand their personal struggles.
Like many "swing voters," Walmart Moms are not especially partisan in their views. Throughout our research, we heard Walmart Moms express disgust with the presidential campaign and with politics in general. They viewed most politicians as "out-of-touch" and not attuned to the economic challenges average voters and families face each day.
In our final election night survey data, Walmart Moms helped tip the scales in 2012 in favor of President Obama.