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

Roll Call: The Numbers Tell the Story – Tax Cuts Work

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston makes the case for how tax cuts spur economic growth:

Last October, not long before passage of the Republican tax cuts, Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” argued over taxes with his guest, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“There has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth,” the NBC host said.

To the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that shows tax cuts do spur economic growth, and the proof can be found in the economic data that followed passage of the four major tax cuts of the last half century….

These four major tax cuts shared three key economic accomplishments. Gross domestic product went up. Unemployment rates went down. And federal revenues increased substantially after passage and implementation.

For more, continue reading on Roll Call.

Roll Call: The Perils of Impeachment

by Emily O'Connor

In his latest for Roll Call, David Winston discusses why the Democratic refrain of impeachment sounds like partisan rhetoric rather than a serious solution to the problems voters want to see changed:

Voters, whose mood may be improving, remain skeptical of both parties and this president. What they are saying is that this country is facing serious problems overseas and at home, especially at home. Until the Russia investigations show them something more than they’ve seen so far, Democratic calls for impeachment seem nothing more than shrill partisan rhetoric from a party that still doesn’t understand how it lost in 2016.

The Russia story may garner eyeballs and clicks because of its sensationalism, and people believe that the integrity of our elections is important. But they see much of the coverage and the investigations themselves as nothing but partisan game playing, much as voters saw the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago.

Placing Priority: How Issues Mattered More than Demographics in the 2016 Election

by Emily O'Connor

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group has released two new reports exploring the views and values motivating the American electorate. As part of the Voter Study Group, the WG’s David Winston used a unique longitudinal dataset of 5,000 voters to explore which issues mattered most in 2016. Read the full report here or take a look at the highlights:

Viewing the electorate through the lens of issue priorities rather than through demographic variables yields valuable insights. Our analysis suggests that the mix of issue priorities revealed more about voter decision-making than demography.

Using voters’ views on the importance of 23 different issues, a cluster analysis produced five distinct groups — the “Democrat/Independent Liberal Elites” (15 percent of the electorate), the “Democratic-Leaning Working Class” (the largest cluster, at 25 percent), the “Moderate Younger Middle-Income” voters (17 percent), the “Conservative Older” voters (21 percent), and the “Conservative Younger” voters (12 percent), with an additional 10 percent unidentified by these clusters because they did not respond to all 23 issue priority questions.

These clusters demonstrated distinct presidential election voting patterns, party preference, and ideological patterns that can provide insight into voters’ decision-making. The conservative, Republican-Leaning clusters appear more cohesive than the two Democratic-Leaning clusters. The “Democrat/Independent Liberal Elites” cluster prioritized issues popular in the media coverage of the election, but not issues that were “very important” to the other Democratic cluster and the country as a whole, such as the economy and jobs. These differences will be consequential for Democrats in the future.

The key issues driving the election, based on what voters found most important, were the economy, health care, jobs, and Social Security. Issues such as climate change, gender, and racial injustice that made up a significant level of the media coverage of the 2016 election were not among the most important issues for most voters. The Rust Belt was key to the election outcome, and the economy was the top issue among Trump voters in that region, and the fifth most important issue among Clinton voters.

Of the four top issues, Trump had the advantage among voters who highly prioritized jobs and the economy while Clinton had an advantage among those who prioritized health care. Neither candidate had an advantage on Social Security. Clinton won a majority of those voters who prioritized 12 of the 23 issues included in the survey, and often by large margins. But Trump won a majority of those who prioritized two of the top three issues, including the most important, the economy.

Voters were not satisfied with the status quo when it came to the economy, and deep economic frustration and desire for change underlied their issue prioritization and political decision-making.

Roll Call: “Issues Matter in Elections Even More Than You’d Think”

by Emily O'Connor

David Winston’s latest for Roll Call reviews the 2016 election and the importance of voter issue priorities:

So what does this analysis show really happened in 2016? Trump won the issues that mattered.

In the future, both political parties need to recognize that the electorate has a clear set of priorities. Issues matter — and going forward, they may matter much more than demographics.

NFL Brand – Structural Change or Mild Improvement?

by Emily O'Connor

The newest monthly WG Sports Survey (November 29-30) found that the NFL brand improved very slightly, going from 44% favorable – 40% unfavorable in October to 48% favorable – 38% unfavorable. While this is a slight improvement, favorability is well below where it was in August when it was 57% favorable – 23% unfavorable. The question is whether this is a small start back toward the original brand standing, or a settling-in process for the new brand standing of the NFL with the public.

 

Roll Call: “Bottom of the Ninth”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes for Roll Call on what outcomes matter to an electorate that feels this is the “bottom of the ninth” for the middle class:

…In the end, there are two numbers that will matter most in the 2018 election: How many jobs have been created and how much have wages gone up? Transformational tax reform legislation is essential to create the kind of economic growth that delivers both. This is a battle Republicans must win — on the floor and in homes and businesses across the country.

Principles are important. But you can’t win without outcome-based policy products that connect with people.

The Ripon Forum: “Great Expectations”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston and Myra Miller have a new piece in the latest volume of The Ripon Society’s magazine, The Ripon Forum, discussing the opportunity and challenge for Republicans in Congress:

“Republicans have to transition from the mindset of ‘reacting to President Obama’ into a new era of creating Republican initiatives that deliver results and provide a governing framework.  People want change and they want it soon.  They expect Congress and the President to get something done and get government working again for them.

In a focus group after the election, one voter in Pittsburgh told us that it now felt like the country was in ‘the bottom of the ninth and there are two outs.’  In other words, this might be America’s last chance to get it right. Republicans in Congress need to focus on voter priorities and they need to deliver results.”

Read the full article on The Ripon Society page.

WashEx: Is the media repeating mistake about Trump polls?

by Emily O'Connor

What do President Trump’s approval numbers really mean?

Another Republican pollster, David Winston, stressed that the current polls probably reflect unformed opinion on the part of some Americans rather than solid opposition.

“People are making an assessment, and they’re not making it quickly,” Winston told me. “They’re going to see what he’s going to do over a period of time. My sense is we’re just watching people as they think through how they’re going to assess things.”

Winston believes a significant number of people who do not tell pollsters they approve of the job Trump is doing — whether they outright disapprove or don’t know — are eminently gettable for Trump. “He’s got the opportunity because people are open,” Winston said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re going to flip their opinion prior to anything happening.”

In other words: Trump has to produce.

Winston also noted that last November, when exit pollsters asked voters which candidate quality mattered most to them, “can bring change” won with 39 percent — nearly two-to-one over any other single attribute. Among those voters, Trump demolished Clinton, 82 percent to 14 percent. The people who wanted change in November still want it now.

Read the full story here.

WashPo: “Trump’s improbable coup leaves Republican Party in an identity crisis”

by Emily O'Connor

In an article discussing what a Trump nomination means for the Republican party, the WG’s David Winston comments on the challenge of creating a majority coalition:

“The question is whether Trump can put together a majority coalition with unfavorable ratings in the mid-60s,” said veteran GOP pollster David Winston. “Granted, Clinton is in the mid-50s with her ratings, but he has to define a plan to get his unfavorable numbers down. If he can’t, it’ll be a big problem.”

For more, head here.

ABC News: “Americans Split on Whether Clinton Cares About Their Needs”

by Emily O'Connor

In recent polls, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s ratings are down on measures such as whether Americans feel she “cares about people like you” or “understands the problems of people like you.”

Republican pollster David Winston said the intense early focus on such issues gives Republicans an opening to define the terms of the debate over the direction each party wants to take the country.

“If she doesn’t have a product on the shelf — her ideas — what’s the point?” Winston asked.

Read the rest of the story here.

Older Posts »