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

Politics Daily – The Economy and the 2010 Elections: Bleak Assumptions May Be Premature

by canderson

From Walter Shapiro’s column about the next round of elections:

“Big themes will emerge for this off-year election just as they did for 1994-1998-2002-2006 races,” said Republican pollster David Winston, who advises the congressional Republican leadership. “That’s why to assume that the 2010 elections will automatically follow a historical pattern — when there have been so many major changes in political communication in recent years — is to miss the big picture.” Presidential politics permanently changed with the 1960 election and the over-arching importance of television. The same kind of transformation may have begun occurring in the mid-1990s with the proliferation of cable television channels and the emergence of the Internet.

The Economy and the 2010 Elections: Bleak Assumptions May Be Premature [Politics Daily]

Politics Daily: For Obama Foes, It’s the Economy, Not Race

by Lisa Mathias

Politics Daily’s Walter Shapiro addresses what’s behind President Obama’s latest job approval ratings. Shapiro features some commentary from David Winston on why we’re hearing so much from “Obama foes”:

Anti-Obama passions are undeniably present, although they may not be as meaningful as advertised. In part, they reflect the high-decibel partisanship of a political dialogue defined by cable television and angry Web sites. As Republican pollster David Winston puts it, “I think there are things going on that have nothing to do with Obama, like the change in the political discourse.”

Access the entire article on Politics Daily

The Right Idea, Episode 23 – Microtargeting

by Lisa Mathias

The Right Idea, Episode 23 – Microtargeting from The Winston Group on Vimeo.

How should campaigns reach out to a particular audience? Kristen talks to Craig Kirchoff from National Media, Inc. and Alex Lundry from TargetPoint Consulting. This week’s first episode answers what exactly microtargeting is about and why campaigns ought to focus on it.

The Right Idea, Episode 22 – The Youth Vote

by Lisa Mathias

The Right Idea, Episode 22 – The Youth Vote from The Winston Group on Vimeo.

This week’s second episode tackles the issue of how to attract – and retain – young voters. The tactics don’t stop at simply having a Twitter a Facebook. Kristen, Tyler and Chris discuss why.

The Right Idea, Episode 21 – Voter Identifications

by Lisa Mathias

The Right Idea, Episode 20 – Voter Identifications from The Winston Group on Vimeo.

Is the country really turning all blue? Kristen chats with Tyler Harber from Wilson National Research and Chris Malagisi from the Young Conservatives Coalition this week, discussing a recent Gallup poll showing that a majority of the states are Democrat-leaning. Kristen, Tyler and Chris break it all down to figure out the truth behind the numbers.

The Right Idea, Episode 20 – New Media in Campaigns

by Lisa Mathias

The Right Idea, Episode 20: New Media in Campaigns from The Winston Group on Vimeo.

Kristen Soltis, Patrick Ruffini and Liz Mair continue their chat on new media, this time focusing on its use in campaigns and how technology is changing the way campaigns are run.

Get Schooled Initiative Launches – Aimed At Broadening Americans’ Engagement in Solving the Education Crisis

by Lisa Mathias

Initiative Releases Poll Revealing Vast Majority of Americans Do Not Believe U.S. Education System is World’s Best, Have Concerns Over Its Impact on the Nation’s Economy

Hollywood, Calif. – Sept. 8, 2009 – Viacom (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with initiative partners AT&T, Capital One Financial Corporation and NYSE Euronext, today launched Get Schooled with a national broadcast and an education conference at the Paramount Pictures lot. The five-year initiative aims to generate greater awareness and engagement in addressing the nation’s education crisis and to offer practical resources and support to students.

“We couldn’t be having this conversation at a better time,” said Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Gates Foundation. “The education crisis is damaging our ability to compete in the global economy, and we need to do more to engage all Americans – from policymakers and corporate leaders to families and young people – in our efforts to support students in completing their education and achieving their dreams.”

The Get Schooled initiative also announced today the results of a poll conducted by The Winston Group showing that an overwhelming percentage of Americans believe that the United States is lagging behind other nations when it comes to the quality of education. Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said that they do not believe that the United States has the best public education system in the world. Eighty-nine percent believe that if American students are not receiving as good of an education as their overseas counterparts, it will have a negative effect on the American economy.

“We are committed to raising awareness and, even more importantly, to converting that awareness into action,” said Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom. “Improving the workforce readiness of America’s upcoming generations is a business imperative. By 2020, our nation may be short 14 million college-educated workers, and the trends are moving against us. The cost to the U.S. economy of students unprepared to enter college and the workforce is estimated at close to $4 billion dollars annually in lost wages and remedial education costs. But the long-term cost is exponentially greater.”

From 2006 to 2016 there will be more than two million new jobs created requiring at least an associate degree or postsecondary training, according to the New Democratic Leadership Council. However, the reality is that two-thirds of American ninth graders will not be prepared for college within four years, and half of those who actually go to college will never earn a degree.

“Investing in a well-educated workforce may be the single most important thing we can do to help the U.S. remain a leader in the global economy,” said Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for AT&T. “If we come together as business leaders, policymakers, parents and as a community, we can ensure that today’s students have the skills and knowledge for meaningful careers, and that American businesses have a deep and diverse talent pool from which to hire. AT&T is proud to be a partner in Get Schooled.”

As part of Get Schooled’s mission to foster a national dialogue on education issues, AT&T is organizing “screening parties” and discussions around the premiere of the TV broadcast of Get Schooled: You Have the Right. Local events, organized with community partners, will take place in 14 cities across the nation.

“NYSE Euronext is proud to partner with all the sponsors of the Get Schooled initiative. Improving America’s education system is critically important to the future of our children and our prosperity,” said Duncan L. Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext. “To continue developing future generations of innovators and investors, we must ensure that our young people are equipped with the necessary skills to compete in the global marketplace and succeed in life. At NYSE Euronext, we have a long-standing commitment to financial literacy, and we are pleased to offer our expertise and brand behind this great initiative.”

“At Capital One we recognize that one of the most important investments we can make in the future is an investment in education,” said Carolyn Berkowitz, President of Capital One Foundation and Vice President for Community Affairs at Capital One. “We are proud to support programs like Get Schooled to help reinforce the importance of financial literacy. Our goal is to help give students a solid foundation of money management knowledge and skills so that they can make wise financial choices in the future.”

The launch of Get Schooled, at the Paramount Pictures lot, includes a conference featuring a line-up of distinguished speakers: Bill Gates, Philippe Dauman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller, filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, author and political columnist Arianna Huffington, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and Los Angeles-area High School Athletic Director Stephen Minix. The education conference will be attended by an audience of almost one thousand – including corporate and nonprofit partners, students, thought leaders, celebrities and other education stakeholders. Its goal is to highlight fresh perspectives on ways to dramatically increase high school graduation rates and college completion rates. The speakers will draw from their personal and professional experiences, sharing insights on how to ensure that all students receive a top-notch education and are ready to compete in a global marketplace.

The launch events on the Paramount Pictures lot also include the premiere of the Get Schooled: You Have the Right documentary featuring President Barack Obama, Kelly Clarkson and LeBron James, and three professionals who work alongside them, which will air across all of Viacom’s U.S. networks, including BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land and Nickelodeon, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific and 7 p.m. Central.

The Winston Group survey of 1,000 voters nationwide probed Americans’ views about education. The telephone survey was conducted Aug. 23-27, 2009 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

Get Schooled is a national program that connects, inspires and mobilizes people – from policymakers and corporate leaders to communities and kids – to find effective solutions to the problems facing our education system. It provides resources and information, community outreach and creative programming that engage a range of audiences to address America’s education crisis. Get Schooled’s co-developers are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, including BET Networks, MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures. The initiative combines the Foundation’s deep knowledge of education reform with the power of Viacom’s diverse brands to raise awareness about the challenges facing America’s public education system and provide information and solutions for students and their families.

To find out more about Get Schooled and the initiative’s groundbreaking national television premiere airing today, visit

National Review Online: Obamacare Goes Primetime

by Lisa Mathias

In a recent article in NRO by Robert Costa, David offers a strategist’s view on where Obama stands now that August recess is over and the health care debate still rages on. He also offers some advice for GOP leaders since they now have the opportunity to present a more viable alternative for Americans:

David Winston, a Republican pollster, agrees. He says that Obama “has to do a kind of reset on health care and figure out if he can regain the initiative on the policy debate, since he clearly lost the month of August.” Winston cautions, however, that Obama has bigger problems than his message. “One of the difficult stress points of a majority coalition is how you keep your base and the people beyond the base together to sustain that coalition. Health care is the first clear example where the two have divergent views.”

If Republicans are heartened by Obama’s summer stumble, that doesn’t mean they should relax. Republicans, says Winston, should work to create a “positive policy choice”…

To read the full article, access

LA Times: Obama’s big gamble on health care debate

by Lisa Mathias

David was recently featured in an article by LA Times’ Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook about what’s to come from Obama in the next few weeks in terms of health care reform and lays out several issues that may arise. David provides some insight into Obama’s recent poll numbers:

“This is his big moment in managing a majority coalition,” said David Winston, a GOP strategist who compared Obama’s challenge to those faced — unsuccessfully — by three other former leaders: Clinton on healthcare, President George W. Bush on Social Security, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the budget battle that shut down part of the government during Clinton’s first term.

“Every one of them overreached,” said Winston. “But the question is, do they understand they have overreached? And what do they do in response?”

Access the LA Times article here

The Right Idea, Episode 19 – Tech and the Obama Administration

by Lisa Mathias

The Right Idea, Episode 19: Tech & the Obama Administration from The Winston Group on Vimeo.

This week, Kristen Soltis talks to Patrick Ruffi from Engage and Liz Mair from Hynes Communications to address the current administration’s use of technology in terms of messaging, transparency, and other recent efforts.