In the most recent survey for Winning the Issues (July 5-6, 1000 registered voters), we updated the list of issues and news stories in how they are driving voting decisions for next year’s mid-term elections. The chart below shows how each item was ranked on Election Day, in March, and this week. Economy/jobs remains the most important issue on the list, which is consistent with what we observed on Election Day and back in March. The issue that continues to be a close second on the list is need to get things done in Washington and get the parties to work together.
Foreign policy (#3 and #5 on the list) and tax issues (#4 and #6) continue to be significant factors in voting decisions. However, news stories being heavily covered by the media – including stories about White House ethics scandals (#18) and allegations of Trump ties to Russia (#20) – are lesser priorities in voting decisions at the moment. As shown in these results over time, the electorate is remarkably consistent in their priorities.
The WG’s David Winston and Myra Miller have a new piece in the latest volume of The Ripon Society’s magazine, The Ripon Forum, discussing the opportunity and challenge for Republicans in Congress:
“Republicans have to transition from the mindset of ‘reacting to President Obama’ into a new era of creating Republican initiatives that deliver results and provide a governing framework. People want change and they want it soon. They expect Congress and the President to get something done and get government working again for them.
In a focus group after the election, one voter in Pittsburgh told us that it now felt like the country was in ‘the bottom of the ninth and there are two outs.’ In other words, this might be America’s last chance to get it right. Republicans in Congress need to focus on voter priorities and they need to deliver results.”
As part of the immediate discussions about how to deal with problems in the health care system, the future of health care and the opportunities that exist should be a key part of those discussions.
As the Trump presidency nears the 100-day mark, the WG’s David Winston comments on what people are looking for from the president:
“People were voting for change,” said David Winston, a GOP pollster. “It doesn’t have to be everything all the time, but there has to be a sense of forward progress. They’re looking for two basic outcomes: more jobs and higher wages. It’s pretty straightforward.”
Continue reading here.
What do President Trump’s approval numbers really mean?
Another Republican pollster, David Winston, stressed that the current polls probably reflect unformed opinion on the part of some Americans rather than solid opposition.
“People are making an assessment, and they’re not making it quickly,” Winston told me. “They’re going to see what he’s going to do over a period of time. My sense is we’re just watching people as they think through how they’re going to assess things.”
Winston believes a significant number of people who do not tell pollsters they approve of the job Trump is doing — whether they outright disapprove or don’t know — are eminently gettable for Trump. “He’s got the opportunity because people are open,” Winston said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re going to flip their opinion prior to anything happening.”
In other words: Trump has to produce.
Winston also noted that last November, when exit pollsters asked voters which candidate quality mattered most to them, “can bring change” won with 39 percent — nearly two-to-one over any other single attribute. Among those voters, Trump demolished Clinton, 82 percent to 14 percent. The people who wanted change in November still want it now.
Following the 2016 election, the Congressional Institute commissioned The Winston Group for a study of middle-class Americans and their dissatisfaction with government, including both qualitative research and a survey of voters.
From the overview: “The most recent research indicates that the electorate continues to show serious concern about the direction of the country, and defines the kinds of changes they want to see. In the context of the most recent presidential election, voter perceptions were that the election was a choice between change and the status quo, and the result of voters’ voices not being heard…
From voters’ perspectives, the middle class sees value in their contributions and the work that they do, but do not feel valued by the nation’s elites and institutions… While one out of two voters describes themselves as more engaged and interested in the political process after the last election cycle, they are not fully clear on how to effectively make their voices heard other than by voting. However, the actions taken by lawmakers as a reflection of the issue priorities for which they voted seems to be the most clear signal to voters as to whether or not their voices were heard.”
Head to the Congressional Institute site for the full report.
What did voters tell Washington in 2016? They wanted to “rock the boat.” Read through our in-depth 2016 Post Election Analysis to find out how voters defined their choice, and what role deeper concerns over the direction of the country, the economy, and the political system played in that decision.
The Hill takes a look at Donald Trump’s seeming change of tactics recently in addressing the media and some of his past comments, and the Winston Group’s David Winston comments:
“This reflects his campaign’s understanding of the obvious — that his high unfavorability rating is unsustainable in the general election,” said David Winston, who served as Newt Gingrich’s pollster for the former House Speaker’s 2012 presidential run.
“The first step you take in correcting that is reaching out to groups to address certain perceptions about him,” Winston said. “It will be a challenge, but it’s not clear that views about him have completely hardened yet, so there’s opportunity here.”
…And an April poll from Gallup found that 70 percent of women view Trump unfavorably, with only 23 percent saying they had a positive view of him.
“That’s a huge problem and a terrible place to be,” said Winston. “Women make up a majority of the electorate. At this point, the best asset Trump and Clinton have is how unpopular the other candidate is.”
For more, head here.
In an article discussing what a Trump nomination means for the Republican party, the WG’s David Winston comments on the challenge of creating a majority coalition:
“The question is whether Trump can put together a majority coalition with unfavorable ratings in the mid-60s,” said veteran GOP pollster David Winston. “Granted, Clinton is in the mid-50s with her ratings, but he has to define a plan to get his unfavorable numbers down. If he can’t, it’ll be a big problem.”
For more, head here.