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

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.

Heritage Newspaper: Economy is better, views on Obama’s handling of it worse

by Lisa Mathias

David J. Lynch writes about evidence that the economy is improving, but Americans don’t perceive that these positive changes can be attributed to Obama. There’s evidence in a recent WG poll, as David Winston explains:

By 49 percent to 41 percent, voters now blame “policies of the present” rather than “policies of the past” for their economic problems, a reversal from a year earlier, according to David Winston, a Republican pollster.

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Washington Examiner: Pollster: Obama’s ‘You can keep it’ hurts like ‘Read my lips’ hit Bush

by Lisa Mathias

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard recently interviewed The WG’s David Winston to get his opinion on President’s Obama’s claim that “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”

“It’s a real problem,” said Winston, explaining that Obama already suffers from poor approval ratings and is viewed unfavorably by the public.

But it’s a huge opening for the GOP. “This is a big moment,” he said. “We’re in a position where people are open to listening to us.”

To read the full article, turn to

Washington Examiner: Starting year six, does Obama finally own the economy?

by Lisa Mathias

Washington Examiner’s Byron York takes a look at President Obama’s standing among voters in terms of the economy, and asks the question whether the president is finally handling the economy now that he’s in his sixth year of presidency. The WG’s David Winston posed the question differently in a recent survey:

But Republican pollster David Winston, who works closely with the House GOP leadership, has tried to get at the question another way. The names “Bush” and “Obama” are so politically loaded that people sometimes retreat to party corners at their very mention. So Winston has been asking this instead: “Which is causing more problems in the economy? The policies of the past? Or the policies of the present?”

When Winston asked the question in November 2012, 53 percent of those surveyed said the policies of the past were causing more problems, and 44 percent said the policies of the present.

When Winston asked the same question not too long ago, in November 2013, 41 percent said the policies of the past, and 49 percent said the policies of the present.

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Op-Ed on The Daily Beast: Americans Don’t Like Obama’s Job Performance – or Him

by Lisa Mathias

The WG’s Kristen Soltis Anderson writes for today’s The Daily Beast, commenting on recently released job approval numbers for President Obama, as well as some questions that indicate the public’s current standing with him.

In the CBS/NYT poll, fewer than half of Americans said they felt Obama is honest and trustworthy, a decline from the six out of ten Americans who saw the President as honest in September of 2012. The latest CNN poll, released last week, showed 53% of Americans concur that the label “honest and trustworthy” does not apply to Obama. As far back as the start of the month, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that slightly more Americans held a negative view of Barack Obama than held a positive view.

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AP: For Obama, a sudden struggle with personal appeal

by Lisa Mathias

In today’s AP, Jennifer Agiesta and Julie Pace write about President Obama’s falling approval ratings. They turned to the WG’s David Winston for some insight:

“It’s a slow cumulative effect,” Republican pollster David Winston said, adding that personal favorability “is a much harder number to move if it starts to go south.”

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NPR: Obama wants to pivot to immigration reform, but can it work?

by Lisa Mathias

NPR’s Mara Liasson recently reported on immigration as a rising issue, amid continuing debate over the Obamacare website and the budget. While President Obama shifts focus onto immigration, the WG’s David Winston states that his priorities need to be shifted elsewhere:

DAVID WINSTON: A lot of our members are hearing, tell me what you’re doing in terms of the economy first. Give me a clear picture of where that’s going to go. And the president, to some degree, wants to go to his priority as opposed to where the country’s really at at this point.

To listen to the full story and read a transcript, turn to

NY Times: Senate Leaders Mull Raising Debt Ceiling in Challenge to House

by Lisa Mathias

In the latest news on the on-going government shutdown, the New York Times reports on the continued back-and-forth disagreements between House Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama. But the WG’s David Winston doesn’t think that either side knows how the debate will end:

But David Winston, a Republican pollster close to Mr. Boehner, said Mr. Obama’s stance was likely to prove unpopular as well. “Anyone who says he knows how this is going to turn out doesn’t know,” Mr. Winston said. “We are in a very unsettled time.”

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National Review Online: The GOP Thinks Obama is Bluffing

by Lisa Mathias

Jonathan Strong writes for the National Review about the looming threat of a government shutdown, and turns to The WG’s David Winston for insight:

David Winston, a pollster for House Republicans, explained that Obama’s position is as dangerous to him as shutting the government down is to the GOP.

“When the president stands up and says ‘I will not negotiate,’ that’s not particularly tenable either. . . . People look at the debt ceiling as, ‘If we’re that broke, why are we asking to be able to put more money on the credit card?’” he told me.

To read more:

Washington Examiner: Democrats fret President Obama’s scandals will hurt them in 2014

by Lisa Mathias

Brian Hughes write for the Washington Examiner on the recent scandals that have taken over Washington, and whether these events will have any effect on the mid-term elections. The WG’s David Winston comments that the GOP can’t necessarily see the scandals as victories for them:

“Just because there’s a scandal doesn’t mean you’ve won,” said Republican pollster David Winston, pointing to 1998, when Republicans lost House seats despite President Clinton’s self-inflicted woes. “The other side is embroiled in putting out fires. It presents a clear opportunity to define the policy debate — the question is, what do you do with that opportunity?”

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