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

“Fix It” – An Analysis of the 2014 Midterm Elections

by Emily O'Connor

 

In the 2014 midterm elections, what did voters tell Washington? “Fix it.”

Read through our in-depth analysis to find out more about what voters want, who comprised the 2014 electorate, and what challenges and opportunities are ahead for both parties.

Access the PDF here.

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NYTimes: Loss for Democrats in Midterm Elections Could Be Boon for Clinton

by Lisa Mathias

The New York Times released a story on how a possible Republican-led Senate for Obama’s last two years of presidency could pave the way for success for Hilary Clinton, if she decides to run for 2016. The WG’s David Winston comments:

“If the direction Republicans define is where the country needs to go, then the initiative is with Republicans,” said David Winston, a Republican strategist for House leaders. “If Republicans just define themselves as being opposed to President Obama, then Republicans hand the initiative to Clinton.”

To read the full story, turn to nytimes.com

National Teacher Attitudes on the Adoption of Common Core State Standards

by David Winston

While teachers’ outlook on Common Core continues to be positive, there are some challenges emerging on the horizon that need to be addressed. By a 2:1 margin (62% approve-31% disapprove) teachers approve of adoption of Common Core State Standards. However, this support is soft as 17% said they strongly approve and 44% said somewhat approve. This overall level of support is basically unchanged from last March, when in a Hart/Winston Group survey, 62% of teachers approved and 32% disapproved.

Additionally, attitudes about approval of state implementation of Common Core has slipped slightly as it went from 66% in March to 60% in July. While the trend is of concern, nonetheless the approval margin is still 2:1 (60-30). Also like overall approval, that approval is soft with 18% strongly approving and 42% somewhat approving.

Finally, and perhaps the most immediate challenge, is that what teachers have heard about Common Core Standards over the last year has not been favorable. Given what teachers said they had heard over the last year, 17% said it made them more favorable, while 32% said it made them less favorable. However, almost half (49%) said that what they had heard had not changed their attitude. Again, this was similar to last March when it stood at 18% more favorable, 32% less favorable, and 49% the same.

This survey occurs as we are in the middle of implementation across the country. Implementation was always seen as a challenging moment, yet 6 out of 10 teachers at this point still approve of how that is occurring. Obviously it would be better if that approval were not as soft as it is. Additionally that softness is complicated by the teacher reaction to what they have heard. Nonetheless, the attitudes are still very positive, but a stronger Common Core narrative is needed to coincide with further implementation to move things forward.

This survey was fielded August 2-3, 2014 for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 800 teachers nationally were interviewed.

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LA Times: World crises drown out Obama’s economic message for midterm election

by Lisa Mathias

The Winston Group’s David Winston comments in the July 23rd edition of LA Times on how President Obama’s handling of foreign policy reflects his handling of policies stateside:

The foreign affairs crises are not drowning out the economic message, but rather heightening concerns about his ability to get to successful policy outcomes, which includes the economy.

To read the full article, click to LA Times.com

Discussion Points: More than Words

by Lisa Mathias

In our second video of our new Discussion Points series, we discuss the importance of having not only a good message, but a good plan to back it up. We also take a look at how President Reagan served as an example of this concept.

Video: Is America Still Center Right?

by Lisa Mathias

In the first of a new series of short, original videos, we decided to look into whether the American electorate has remained ideologically center-right since the last two presidential elections, or whether voters have shifted to the left. We also explain what this means for Republicans as we go into the 2014 election season.

Memo and Toplines: Research on Common Core State Standards

by Lisa Mathias

Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group recently surveyed public school teachers on the implementation of Common Core State Standards, conducted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Below you’ll find a summary of the key findings, as well as the survey toplines.

Memo: Survey of Teachers’ Attitudes about the Common Core State Standards

Toplines: Gates CCSS Survey

Politico: And the GOP economic plan is…?

by Lisa Mathias

David Nather writes for Politico on the GOP’s plans to turn around the economy and help improve the unemployment rate. Some lawmakers are focused on Obamacare, but the WG’s David Winston says that should not be the focus going into the 2014 midterm election:

“As a political party, you need to be addressing the No. 1 issue concern as identified by the electorate. In this case, there’s no question it’s jobs and the economy.”

Read more: politico.com

WP: GOP too focused on Obamacare, some Republicans warn

by Lisa Mathias

Karen Tumulty writes for the Washington Post on how many GOP leaders have focused heavily on debating and repealing the ACA. But the WG’s David Winston feels that it’s not the issue that’s going to win voters:

“While health care is a very important issue, Republicans must focus on what is the overwhelmingly top issue — jobs and the economy, just like they did in 2010 with the question ‘Where are the Jobs?’ ” said David Winston, a pollster who advises House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

In Winston’s view, it is a myth that the last midterm election was swung by voter outrage over Obama’s health-care proposal, which was then being hotly debated in Congress.

To read more, turn to washingtonpost.com.

WaPo: Congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks

by Lisa Mathias

Robert Costa writes for the Washington Post on the GOP’s efforts to mollify division within the party, opting to focus on keeping the party stable rather than attempting to pass major legislation. The WG’s David Winston comments:

“There is clearly a desire among Republicans in Congress to move forward, and everyone is working through where they could find potentially find consensus,” said David Winston, a Republican strategist who advises Boehner. “But you’ve got to see where the differences are and try to resolve them, while staying focused on offering an alternative.”

To read the full article, go to washingtonpost.com.

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