The Winston Group is a strategy and research firm dedicated to making ideas matter.

David Winston on Jansing & Co., February 6, 2013

by Lisa Mathias

The WG’s David Winston appeared on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. on February 6 to comment on President Obama’s appointment of Sally Jewell as Secretary of Interior:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

2012 Post-Election Analysis

by David Winston

Access the .pdf here: 2012 Post-Election Analysis

Infographic: Mitt Romney’s Vote Margins

by Lisa Mathias

Young voters played a decisive role in the 2012 presidential election. According to the exit polls, Barack Obama received fewer votes than Mitt Romney among voters over the age of 30, but won young voters – nationally and in key swing states – by such large margins that he was re-elected.

WSJ: Political Pros: What the Final Debate Means

by Lisa Mathias

For the third and final presidential debate of this election season, the WG’s David Winston continues his series writing for the Wall St. Journal’s Washington Wire blog. Winston gives his reaction to Monday night’s debate, stating that Governor Romney succeeded in his tactic of avoiding attacking Obama and instead offering his ideas:

…Mr. Romney came to the debate with a strategy that avoided harsh attacks on Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy record, instead offering voters his own foreign-policy direction for the future. Several times during the debate when Mr. Obama went on the offensive, Mr. Romney calmly told the president he was more interested in talking about where each of them would take the country rather than engaging a rhetorical war of attrition.

To read the full post, turn to blogs.wsj.com.

Infographic: Which devices do you get more of your news from?

by David Winston

Recently, Newsweek announced that it will no longer be producing a print version of the iconic magazine. No matter what business concerns lead to that decision, one fact that must be acknowledged is that there are dramatic changes happening in how Americans consume news. The Winston Group recently conducted a survey that asked respondents which electronic devices they use to get their news. Here is what we found:

Among the “Overall” responses, television was still the most popular device, but computers were a reasonably close second, well ahead of radio. Additionally, radio is beginning to see some stiff competition from smartphones.

But the advantage in audience size that television has over computers and the lead that radio has over smartphones disappears when you look at younger members of the population. Among 35-44 year olds, smart phones and tablets are already outpacing radio as a source of news. When you look at 18-44 year olds, the results are even more striking with computers dominate as a source of news, outpacing television, with smartphones beginning to challenge for second spot.

So while not every magazine will incur the same fate as Newsweek, there can be no doubt that the media landscape has already changed for the youngest members of the adult population.

Powerline Blog: Romney’s Improved Standing

by Lisa Mathias

An October 6th post writes about the result of Romney’s successful first presidential debate, and turns to the WG’s David Winston’s analysis that we posted on October 5th. One part of the analysis in the blog post delves into Winston’s analysis of a post-debate discussion held by Democracy Corps:

Democracy Corps also conducted a post-debate discussion with 45 swing voters in Colorado. Its results were largely consistent with those of CBS and CNN. Democracy Corps concluded, though, that “this debate did not emerge as the game-changer the Romney campaign needed.”

But Winston is not persuaded:

Most of the data in the focus group doesn’t support this conclusion and was more in line with the two quantitative studies by CBS and CNN which showed clear movement. Their rationale was that no supporter of President Obama in the focus group moved to Governor Romney.
Looking at the numbers it looks like this represented about 14 people (out of 45), a small group to make such a definitive conclusion. This is a quantitative conclusion based on qualitative data from 45 people in Denver preselected to match certain demographic criteria. Focus groups can provide possible theories; they cannot provide quantitative conclusions.

So Democracy Corps was spinning.

To read more, turn to powerlineblog.com

Post Debate Research – CNN, CBS, Democracy Corps

by Lisa Mathias

A look a the post debate research: CNN, CBS and Democracy Corps…

Post Debate Research – CNN, CBS, Democracy Corps

Why We Compare New Polls to Exit Polls

by Lisa Mathias

As the election draws closer, both the public and the media are paying more attention to polls. With the election less than 40 days aways, polls are not just being read to try and feel the pulse of the American electorate, but also to predict how that electorate will look on November 6th.

It is of course impossible to compare a poll result with an election that hasn’t taken place yet so at The Winston Group we look at the next best thing: exit polls from past elections. We have uploaded charts of national and state level exit poll data on our website for the media and public to use: http://winstongroup.net/2012/09/17/party-id-and-ideology-breakdowns/.

One of the best questions to compare electorates across time is party identification (Party ID). This is a question that is asked in every exit poll. When we compare a newly released poll’s Party ID to the Party ID of past polls we get a sense of how the new electorate compares to the Party IDs of past exit polls.

The polls we have tweeted show there is a wide range of differences in Party ID numbers, but this is not a phenomenon unique to 2012. Ultimately it is up to the reader of the poll to determine if they find the poll’s explanation for Party ID satisfactory or not. The most we can do is provide a resource to allow everyone to make their own comparisons.

Columbus Dispatch OpEd: Winner will be the one who grabs center

by Lisa Mathias

Jack Torry writes in Monday’s Columbus Dispatch about one of the important voting groups for this year’s presidential election: undecided voters. He turns to the WG’s David Winston for further insight on this group:

Winston likes to use this analogy to describe the thinking of an independent voter. Imagine that a fire has broken out at your home. Outside the house, two people are arguing. “You started it,” one says, prompting the other to reply, “You made it worse,” when in fact the homeowner only wants to know one thing: How are you going to put the fire out?

To read more, turn to Dispatch.com.

Party ID and Ideology Breakdowns

by David Winston

Over the course of the next several weeks, there will be many national and state surveys released. In order to help people make sense of this data, we have compiled party identification and ideology results from exit polls in recent elections.

Exit polls are a unique set of numbers, as they are the only major dataset that is directly weighted to election results. That unique quality gives them the reputation of being the “official record” of what happened in an election.

When evaluating a poll, it’s important to take partisan breakdown into account. A survey that dramatically overstates the number of Republicans or Democrats likely to turn out may not give an accurate read on public opinion among the true electorate. For example, the margin between Democrats and Republicans was at its largest since 1984 during the 2008 election. That year, the number of Democrats was larger than the number of Republicans by 7 points — quite a change from 2004 when things were even. The partisan breakdown in Midterm election years is always different from presidential elections, but we include them in our national data here for historical reference.

Ideological makeup is also important. Often, the words “center-right” are used to describe the American electorate. This chart reflects that, as moderates have generally comprised the largest group, with conservatives significantly outnumbering liberals.

As a resource, we have compiled breakdowns by party identification and ideology for the period 1984-2008 at the national level and across the previous four general elections (1996-2008) for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. That information is available on our website, here. We hope this will provide the public with a metric for evaluating polls as they’re released between now and Nov. 6.

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