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

NFL – Brand Struggles Continue

by Emily O'Connor

There was no comeback for the NFL’s brand in October after significant slippage in September.

The newest monthly WG Sports Survey has found the NFL with the same 44% favorable – 40% unfavorable brand numbers in its October 31 – November 1 survey (1,000 registered voters), giving the NFL significantly higher unfavorables than any other major sport. This latest data adds to concerns that the impact of the events over the last two months may represent a longer term change in the overall public’s view of the NFL. Even more problematic, the survey found that almost a third of the NFL’s potential “fan base” (people who watched at least 2 games in a season) have a negative view of the league.

Get the full analysis here.

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Discussion Points: Issues Driving the Electorate

by David Winston

In the most recent survey for Winning the Issues (July 5-6, 1000 registered voters), we updated the list of issues and news stories in how they are driving voting decisions for next year’s mid-term elections. The chart below shows how each item was ranked on Election Day, in March, and this week. Economy/jobs remains the most important issue on the list, which is consistent with what we observed on Election Day and back in March. The issue that continues to be a close second on the list is need to get things done in Washington and get the parties to work together.

Issue Rankings Chart

Foreign policy (#3 and #5 on the list) and tax issues (#4 and #6) continue to be significant factors in voting decisions. However, news stories being heavily covered by the media – including stories about White House ethics scandals (#18) and allegations of Trump ties to Russia (#20) – are lesser priorities in voting decisions at the moment. As shown in these results over time, the electorate is remarkably consistent in their priorities.


	

WG Discussion Points: The Future of Health Care

by David Winston

As part of the immediate discussions about how to deal with problems in the health care system, the future of health care and the opportunities that exist should be a key part of those discussions.

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Analysis: The First 2016 Presidential Primary Debates, By the Numbers

by Emily O'Connor

Four debates in to the Republican presidential primary, the Winston Group has compiled the following analysis covering the questions and topics of each debate, candidate speaking time, the number of questions addressed to each candidate, and comparison to the topics of the two Democrat debates so far. The appendix includes an updated list of the full text of each question asked in each of the debates.

How well have the debates covered the topics most important to voters? Who has gotten the most direct questions – and who has gotten the most chances to speak overall? Check out these numbers and more, compared across the Republican and Democrat debates so far.

(Missed our 2012 Republican primary debates analysis?)

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First 2016 Republican Primary Debate – By the Numbers

by Emily O'Connor

Last Thursday, August 6th, the first 2016 Republican presidential primary debates were held. Following the format of our 2012 Republican primary debates analysis, we have compiled a breakdown of the questions and topics covered in the debate, along with the full text of each question.

We will be doing this after each debate and we will show the results from that debate as well as a running total across all the debates. In future reports, we will expand the analysis and the collective unconscious in a manner similar to what we did in reviewing the 2012 Republican primary debates.

The First Republican Debate - By the Numbers

Read our First Republican Debate – Topics Breakdown

On Point Radio and Diane Rehm Show: The 2016 Campaign

by Emily O'Connor

This past week, the WG’s David Winston was a guest on NPR’s On Point and The Diane Rehm Show. Here are a few highlights:

NYT: “Peril, Promise of Clinton Candidacy Both on Display Lately”

by Emily O'Connor

In an article that discussed opportunities and challenges facing likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the WG’s David Winston commented:

Republican pollster David Winston said the idea of a female president holds obvious appeal but can only be taken so far.

“It gives her an opportunity to be listened to that will be helpful to her,” says Winston, “but she’s got to do something with that opportunity.”

The article also dealt with the dynamics of managing controversies past and present:

“The thing about having baggage is that it’s something you always have to manage,” Winston says. “What she’s got to do, and she obviously struggled with it this week, is how do you manage it in such a way that it allows you to say the things you want to say?”

Read the rest of the article here.

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.

What Voters Want

by Emily O'Connor

From our 2014 post-election analysis:

As a result of voter unhappiness not only about the economy but moving forward generally, people expect Republicans in Congress to focus their efforts on proposing and passing policies to improve the economy (71%). They didn’t vote for Republicans simply to be a check and balance on President Obama (23%)…

Ultimately, what this reflects is a country that continues to be unhappy with the current direction of the economy and have decided to give Republicans more governing responsibility…

What policies were most important to voters? What did they think of the role of government? Keep reading here.

No Matter What Party, This Was Voters’ #1 Issue in the 2014 Midterms

by Emily O'Connor

From our 2014 post-election analysis:

As the 2014 campaign unfolded, the economy remained the number one issue.

Our post-election survey showed that the top issue overwhelmingly was the economy/jobs, with no other issue coming close. This was true across ideology, party, race, age, gender – virtually any subgroup of the electorate you could define.

 

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President Obama tried to argue that an economic recovery, spurred by his policies, was moving the country forward, but that argument failed to resonate with an electorate that was simply not feeling the recovery. In fact, in the exit poll, 78% of the country said they were worried about the direction the economy would take next year and only 28% said their family’s financial situation had improved over the last two years.

Clearly, the country was looking for better solutions to fix the economy.

Read our full 2014 post-election analysis.

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