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

WSJ: Post-Debate Analysis: ‘The Game Is On’?

by Lisa Mathias

Following the first presidential debate last night, the WG’s David Winston wrote his reactions for the Washington Wire blog on the Wall Street Journal, with an overall praise of Romney’s “looking forward” toward what he plans to do, as opposed to using the “Are you better off 4 years ago?” approach:

The president focused on the past rather than looking forward – and that hurt him. Gov. Romney began to propose a future and took steps toward defining that – and it was a positive contrast.
As a result, Gov. Romney succeeded, and listening to the immediate media coverage, that seemed to be a universal consensus. At a broader level, Gov. Romney’s performance as a center-right candidate has the potential to build the natural center-right coalition in the country. The question is what does he do with this momentum?

To read more, turn to

WSJ: Political Wisdom: Final Advice for Obama, Romney

by Lisa Mathias

In today’s Washington Wire column in the Wall Street Journal, The WG’s David Winston offers his advice to President Obama and Mitt Romney on a few things they should consider before the first presidential debate, especially when thinking about social media:

It is probably that social media and the ability to re-share video of debate highlights means that many Americans will re-watch the most important part of tonight’s debate if that they didn’t have a chance to watch it live. If either candidate has a truly defining moment tonight, it will be watched and re-watched multiple times between now and election day, all the more reason for both candidates to carefully consider what they say tonight.

To read more, click to The parallel universe where Mitt Romney leads all polls

by Lisa Mathias

In today’s, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns go behind the polling industry among the rise in popularity behind sites like, where GOP politicos and pundits are relying on polls re-weighted for a higher turnout of Republican respondents. The WG’s David Winston explains that pollsters need to help the public better understand Party ID in polls:

GOP pollster David Winston, whose firm produced a poll recently showing Obama with a 2-point lead nationally, said pollsters should strive to explain their results to the public in the setting of the partisan sample their surveys turn up: “When you come back with results, you should make sure that you are effectively explaining that ballot test in the context of the demographics contained within the survey.”

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The Daily: Minimizing “Mediscare”

by Lisa Mathias

The Daily’s Dan Hirschhorn writes about how Medicare continues to be an on-going debate between Republicans and Democrats as campaign season continues. Hirschhorn points out that while it seems that President Obama is doing better in terms of Medicare, it may not be a huge difference in voter support for him yet, as The WG’s David Winston states:

Earlier this week, a Tampa Bay Times poll found that, even while Obama leads in the critical battleground of Florida, his advantage on the issue of Medicare is negligible.

“That is a dramatic shift in favor of Republicans,” David Winston, a Republican pollster close to House Speaker John Boehner. “Granted, Democrats still hold an advantage but it’s nowhere near where it used to be.”

To read more, turn to The Daily online.

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?”

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Politico: Americans for Job Security joins 2012 presidential air war

by Lisa Mathias

Alexander Burns writes for Politico’s “Burns and Haberman” blog today, addressing the messaging direction that one Americans for Job Security is taking in their new ad for Mitt Romney. Burns write that the message is on looking toward the future, rather than what’s happened in the last 4 years, and references what the WG’s David Winston has advised for GOP leadership

It’s not the first indication that Obama opponents feel they need to make a more assertive case about the trajectory of the nation over the next four years: GOP pollster David Winston advised his party’s candidates to move in that direction earlier this week, voicing skepticism about the value of asking voters whether they’re “better off now than they were four years ago.” It’s worth watching whether the future-oriented approach is a nuance Mitt Romney will try to incorporate into his messaging, too.

To read the full article, turn to

USA Today: Romney fights on Medicare but Obama retains advantage

by Lisa Mathias

A recent article in USA Today addresses the issue of Medicare, one major focus in this year’s presidential election. Polls are showing that Obama has a lead over Romney in his handling of Medicare, which looks like there is a huge disadvantage for Republicans. But David Winston doesn’t think so:

“Now we’re still behind but six points is significantly better than being minus 25,” he says. “That’s an improvement.”
It is an issue on which neither side scores very well, he adds. “The country is still waiting for somebody to come up with a solution that will work. That will end up making it a draw — which for Republicans is a good outcome.”

To read more, turn to USA Today online.

LA Times: What the presidential polls show

by Lisa Mathias

Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus writes about the conflicting messages that recent polls are giving about how Mitt Romney and President Obama are doing, now that November draws closer. McManus turned to The WG’s David Winston for some clarity on the numbers:

“We’re in a kind of political equilibrium,” Republican pollster David Winston told me. “It’s either an even race or a race that slightly favors the president. If you’re in the Obama campaign, that equilibrium looks OK. The question for the Romney campaign is: How do you change that equilibrium?”

To read more, turn to the LA Times online.

Politico: House GOP plays down Mitt Romney ‘47 percent’ remark

by Lisa Mathias

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.

To read the full article, turn to

Yahoo News: Romney refocuses as Obama decries ‘victim’ claim

by Lisa Mathias

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.”

To read more, turn to Yahoo News.

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