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

The Future of Ads

by David Winston

On Wednesday, Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, released her highly acclaimed annual report on Internet trends and technology. One of the findings of this year’s report was that people are trending toward mobile devices faster than ad dollars are keeping up. From the Washington Post coverage of the presentation, “Meeker sees mobile advertising growing another $22 billion in the United States because the time consumers spend on mobile devices — 25 percent — is more than double the share of ad dollars the platform receives. However, a major concern is the 420 million smartphone users who utilize ad-blocking technology.” If people are shifting toward mobile devices but with large numbers using ad blockers, ads of the future will not only have to be more adept at transitioning to mobile devices and away from traditional platforms, but the content will have to be more compelling.

To inform how ads might be more compelling, we looked at which sources are most influential in shaping political views, from research we conducted for the Ripon Society earlier this year.  Not unexpectedly, news media sources were not among the most influential sources on a person’s political views. By far, voters overall and across party cited their own experience as the largest influence on their political views (69%). Family (36%) and education (34%) fell into a second tier of most important influences, followed then by the media (29%).

Given the current media and campaign environment, these results indicate that ads of the future intended to shape views about a candidate or issue will have to be credible and informative enough for people to see the personal impact and how the content can become part of personal and family discussions. This may sound difficult, but it can be done, as exemplified by a recent exchange in a focus group in a competitive Congressional district. In that discussion, we heard a college-educated, independent female (a key voter group for this year’s midterms) describe her reaction to the provisions of the tax plan – not messaging – simply the basic provisions of the plan. After seeing the provisions of the plan and how it could impact her personally, her response was “I’m going to go home and have a drink with my husband and tell him about this stuff because I think it’s fascinating. This has been so interesting.

With the right kind of content that voters find personally relevant and informative, ads can provide content and information that can become part of personal discussions that voters are having, and those kinds of ads can have a much greater impact. The ideal reaction to an ad of any kind would be that a voter discusses it at home with family and concludes that “this has been so interesting.”

The Hill: “Trump launches media offensive to rehab image”

by Emily O'Connor

The Hill takes a look at Donald Trump’s seeming change of tactics recently in addressing the media and some of his past comments, and the Winston Group’s David Winston comments:

“This reflects his campaign’s understanding of the obvious — that his high unfavorability rating is unsustainable in the general election,” said David Winston, who served as Newt Gingrich’s pollster for the former House Speaker’s 2012 presidential run.

“The first step you take in correcting that is reaching out to groups to address certain perceptions about him,” Winston said. “It will be a challenge, but it’s not clear that views about him have completely hardened yet, so there’s opportunity here.”

…And an April poll from Gallup found that 70 percent of women view Trump unfavorably, with only 23 percent saying they had a positive view of him.

“That’s a huge problem and a terrible place to be,” said Winston. “Women make up a majority of the electorate. At this point, the best asset Trump and Clinton have is how unpopular the other candidate is.”

For more, head 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.

LA Times OpEd: “Never say #NeverTrump”

by Emily O'Connor

Commenting in an LA Times column by Doyle McManus, the WG’s David Winston lays out challenges for Republicans in the election ahead – Trump’s unfavorables, particularly among women, and Congressional Republican candidates’ potential need for ticket-splitting voters and a sense of direction for those candidates.

“The structural problem of the Trump candidacy is his ‘unfavorable’ numbers,” GOP pollster David Winston told me. “Among women, who — did I mention? — are the majority of the electorate, his unfavorables are in the 70s. Those aren’t easy numbers to turn around, particularly when a candidate has had as much exposure as Trump.”

…In some states, candidates “are going to depend on people who are voting for [Democrat Hillary] Clinton to switch sides and vote for the other party” when it comes to Congress, Winston noted. “That’s hard to do.”

…“House candidates are going to need a sense of direction, and they don’t necessarily want to rely on Trump to provide it,” Winston said. If Trump appears headed for defeat, the Ryan program could give them a lifeline.

Yet –

…“Everybody writes off a party after it has a bad election,” Winston said. “After 2008, when Obama won, people said it was the end of the Republican Party. But two years later we had 2010 and won a majority in the House.”

For more, head here.

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.

CNN: The GOP Battle for the Middle Class

by Emily O'Connor

In the context of debate over the state of the economy as well as the upcoming 2016 presidential election, the WG’s David Winston summarizes what the overall GOP message on the economy should be:

David Winston, the pollster who helped coin the “where are the jobs” mantra for House Republicans in 2010, says the GOP message in 2016 should be just as simple: “Where is the middle class?”

You can find the rest of CNN’s story here, and see more of David Winston’s comments on this topic here.

 

Diane Rehm Show: “Analysis of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston was a guest on the Diane Rehm Show’s analysis of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address. Here’s a few highlights from his thoughts on the speech:

Listen to the whole show here, and be sure to follow The Winston Group on Twitter.

 

USA Today: “Analysis: A better economy, a more hostile Congress”

by Emily O'Connor

Last night, President Obama delivered the 2015 State of the Union address. The WG’s David Winston sets the stage for the analysis of the speech, highlighting what Republicans were watching for:

“When he came in, he had a filibuster-proof Senate and an overwhelming majority in the House, and now he’s facing a Republican Congress and the largest House membership for Republicans since the ’20s,” said GOP pollster David Winston, an adviser to Republican congressional leaders. He said the GOP was watching to see whether Obama would “double-down” on policies they argue the electorate already has rejected.

Did they get their answer? The rest of the story can be found here.

US News: What’s Wrong With the GOP? Everything

by David Winston

Winston Group vice president Kristen Soltis Anderson has a post at US News and World Report’s politics blog in which she lays out the myriad problems facing the Republican Party as it tries to make inroads with young and minority voters. She writes:

It is easy to say that the GOP’s problem isn’t a messaging problem, it’s a candidate problem. Or that it’s not a candidate problem but a demographics problem. Or that it is not a demographics problem, it’s a technology problem. Or that it’s not a technology problem, it’s a policy and solutions problem.

The hard truth is that it is all of the above.

The problems that face my party are interconnected, and a piecemeal plan for fixing the GOP is not enough. We need an “all of the above” approach to rebuilding the party, and we need to start that hard work today.

Click here to read the full post.

Politico: GOP to Romney: Win the future

by Lisa Mathias

Politico’s Alex Burns addresses Romney’s approach to messaging throughout his campaign, focusing on the “looking toward the future” approach, one that we questioned in our most recent September survey. David Winston further explains:

Veteran GOP pollster David Winston described his party’s messaging challenge as a two-part exercise.
“The first part is looking at the future and the trajectory the present policies are putting us on as we look toward the future,” Winston said. “That trajectory is pretty grim. The other half is, Republicans have to show: what is the trajectory we’re talking about in terms of our policies?”

Read more: politico.com

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