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

Ripon Society: “How do we offer better value?”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston recently spoke at The Ripon Society’s 5th Annual Legislative and Communication Directors Symposium on Leadership, unpacking the results of 2014 and the challenges of 2016. First, he addressed the meaning of the 2014 Republican victories:

“I would suggest to you that last year’s election wasn’t a standalone event. It was a continuation of the 2010 wave. What that means is that the coalition is sustainable. We can build on it and keep moving forward.”

He then highlighted the strategic challenges Republicans will face leading up to 2016:

“The first has to do with who has the initiative,” he stated. “If the President is defining the agenda all the time through executive actions, then he is going to be defining the playing field, as well. And that’s favorable to him.” To that end, Winston said, Republicans need to develop an agenda they can point to as an alternative to whatever the President may put forward.

The second challenge, Winston stated, has to do with the image of the GOP, itself… According to Winston, the third challenge Republicans face relates to legislative strategy and how the party handles the various proposals that are debated and put forward this year.

After describing the three options for Republican proposals,

Winston concluded by recalling a quote from Newt Gingrich. “Wal-Mart doesn’t get ahead by attacking Sears,” the former Speaker once said, “but by offering better value.” Picking up on that theme, Winston asked: “How do we offer better value? What’s our product? What is it that we’re going to do that will make people say, ‘I want that.’ That’s where the real opportunity is…”

Read The Ripon Society’s full summary or watch the presentation here.

CNN: The GOP Battle for the Middle Class

by Emily O'Connor

In the context of debate over the state of the economy as well as the upcoming 2016 presidential election, the WG’s David Winston summarizes what the overall GOP message on the economy should be:

David Winston, the pollster who helped coin the “where are the jobs” mantra for House Republicans in 2010, says the GOP message in 2016 should be just as simple: “Where is the middle class?”

You can find the rest of CNN’s story here, and see more of David Winston’s comments on this topic here.

 

Washington Examiner: “Survey: Hillary Clinton too liberal for most voters”

by Emily O'Connor

This week, a finding from the Winston Group’s post-election survey was featured in the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” column –

Ideological Spectrum - 2014

 

Pollster David Winston provided Secrets with his latest analysis that included his trademark political sliding scale that for the first time tested the public’s opinion of Clinton’s political pulse.

He found that on a scale of 1 for liberal to 9 for conservative, voters put Clinton at 3.6, to the left of the House Democratic Caucus and just shy of Obama’s 3.37, the most liberal on the chart. Voters put themselves at a right-of-center 5.79, a yawning 2 points away from Clinton…

“Looking at 2016, the ideological spectrum should [be] concerning for Democrats, especially the likely front-runner Hillary Clinton. The good news for her is voters put her to the right of President Obama. The bad news for her is voters put her significantly to the left of where they put themselves ideologically,” Winston said.

Read the whole story here, or take a look at everything else we covered in our post-election analysis.

Politico: Young Guns vs. Gavels

by Emily O'Connor

In Politico’s special report discussing the future of the Republican-controlled Senate and issues for each committee, the WG’s David Winston comments on the overall direction the Senate will take:

“I think the hope is that things move forward,” said the veteran Republican pollster David Winston. “For a whole lot of reasons, there’s going to be a focus on jobs and the economy, and then after that there will be an assessment of what’s achievable and what’s not.”

Read more at Politico.

Politico: In Politics, 40 is the New 50

by Emily O'Connor

Politico’s Maggie Haberman explores the trend of lowering approval ratings among winning political candidates. The WG’s David Winston explains how these candidates, some with ratings in the mid to low forties, are now electable:

“I think what you’re seeing is a reflection of the campaigns … when you’re not doing anything to improve your own personal standing and it’s all about how bad the other person is, then it’s not a race about who has the highest favorables, but it’s a race about who has the highest negatives,” said Republican pollster David Winston.

Read the rest at Politico.

The Diane Rehm Show: What to Expect from a Republican-Controlled Congress

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston was a guest on the Diane Rehm Show to discuss what President Obama and a Republican Congress can hope to accomplish in the next two years. You can listen to the whole radio show here or read some of his comments below:

Newsweek: Obama and the Next 24 Months

by Emily O'Connor

In a Newsweek piece examining Obama’s approval ratings in light of past presidents’ 6th years, the WG’s David Winston comments on why Americans are dissatisfied with Washington:

The key is movement. “The public sees a lack of progress on any issue,” says Republican pollster David Winston, noting that the coincidence of the ISIS and Ebola and Ukraine crises were perceived by Americans as yet more examples of Washington not “solving anything and mounting frustration.”

To read more, click here.

Bloomberg View: How to Waste Money and Annoy Voters

by Emily O'Connor

In Francis Wilkinson’s editorial from Bloomberg View, the WG’s David Winston comments on whether the abundance of political advertising in the 2014 midterm elections has reached a saturation point:

“It depends,” said Republican strategist David Winston. “If it is a new topic or idea people will listen. If it’s just a variation on a familiar theme, then less so as they have already heard it. Hearing a point the 96th time is not likely to generate a different reaction than when it was heard the 73rd time.”

For the rest of the piece, click here.

WaPo: What Republicans plan to do to demolish Obama’s legacy if they win the Senate

by Emily O'Connor

In the Washington Post, the WG’s David Winston emphasizes the importance of Republicans using the next two years to define new ideas, not just oppose the president’s:

“Is the purpose to define the direction of the country or to oppose Obama over his last two years?” says David Winston, a Republican pollster and consultant. “We’re seeing a growing consensus that if things are going to work out in the long run — and in 2016 — it has to be about defining a direction.”

Even now before the outcome of the mid-term elections, Winston said that the most important thing is to look toward the 2016 election.

“The one definitive thing you can say is that in 2016 there will be a new president,” he said. “As we look at the last two years of the Obama presidency, the challenge is really defining where the country goes in a post-Obama environment.”

For the rest of the story, head to www.washingtonpost.com.

WSJ: On the Campaign Trail, Obama’s Hard to Find

by Emily O'Connor

The Wall Street Journal highlights President Obama’s comparatively quiet role in the 2014 midterm campaigns so far, particularly in Senate races. The Winston Group’s David Winston comments:

David Winston, a Republican strategist, said the White House has a long-term interest in demonstrating that Mr. Obama still has some political capital.

“If there was a sense that he was in a situation where he couldn’t help any Democratic candidate, that’s just not a good setup for his last two years,” Mr. Winston said.

Click here for the full story.

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