Politico’s Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim write about Mitt Romney’s “47%” comments in Wednesday’s Politico, referring to numbers in our recently-released August New Models House National Brand Survey. Our numbers showed that voters viewed Democrats as “for the middle class,” but Republicans had some advantages as well. Sherman and Kim write:
Republicans on Capitol Hill have spent all year saying that America shouldn’t be segmented by classes and a stronger overall economy would help everyone. That’s why Republicans have a 10-point advantage — 52 percent to 42 percent — when voters are asked whether they agree with Democrats, who say the election is about the middle class, or Republicans, who say the election is about “creating jobs and economic growth.” Republicans also hold a consistent advantage on who is more trusted on jobs and the economy and who has better ideas for the future.
Jim Kuhnhenn writes for Yahoo News on the response Romney is receiving regarding his “47%” comments in a video released to the public earlier this week. Obama-supporting PACs are using the comments in ads, while Republicans are trying to offset them; David Winston explains:
Republicans said Romney need to sharpen his argument and make clear that he was being inclusive by promoting policies that would help all Americans regardless of their circumstances.
“He’s got a tax policy that will drive economic growth and economic growth will help everybody,” said Republican pollster David Winston, who has worked closely with House Republican leaders. “That’s his challenge — to lay out that argument.”
Backlash over the video of Mitt Romney making comments about the “government-dependent” 47% of Americans continues, as the campaign tries to redirect the conversation to his advantage. Karen Tumulty turned to the WG’s David Winston for some insight:
“The challenge to the Romney campaign is how do you make the number one issue the number one issue,” said David Winston, a pollster who advises GOP congressional leaders. “Any day there are other things going on that do not allow them to make the number one issue the number one issue is not a good day for the campaign.”
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?
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.
In Saturday’s New York Times, Jackie Calmes writes about Republican and Democrat opposition over the issue of health care, stating that while before the conventions the two parties seemed to be neck-in-neck, as shown in a recent WG poll:
Democrats fretted that Mr. Romney would win the retiree-heavy Florida and increase his support nationwide among older voters, who lean Republican anyway. David Winston, a Republican pollster, wrote a month ago of “a structural shift in the issue” that left the parties in “a dead heat” and Mr. Obama unable to mount an effective response.
Calmes writes that since then, voters have started to favor Obama’s approach to the issue.