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

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.


	

WaPo: “GOP leaders urge patience — not panic — amid Trump’s early stumbles”

by Emily O'Connor

As the Trump presidency nears the 100-day mark, the WG’s David Winston comments on what people are looking for from the president:

“People were voting for change,” said David Winston, a GOP pollster. “It doesn’t have to be everything all the time, but there has to be a sense of forward progress. They’re looking for two basic outcomes: more jobs and higher wages. It’s pretty straightforward.”

Continue reading here.

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.

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.

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.

WashPo Opinion: “This election is an unpopularity contest for the ages”

by Emily O'Connor

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes about the unprecedented unfavorable ratings of both parties’ presidential candidate frontrunners. The WG’s David Winston commented on how this will affect the state of the electorate:

If the nominees are Trump and Clinton, said Republican pollster David Winston, “You’re probably looking somewhere in the neighborhood of three out of 10 Americans having a negative view of both. You could have a very frustrated electorate by the time we get to Election Day.”

For more, head to The Washington Post.

WashEx: “Hispanic hill looms for GOP”

by Emily O'Connor

How important is winning the Hispanic vote in 2016 and beyond?

“At the national level, as time progresses and as that population segment grows, they’re just going to have increasing importance. That’s a pretty straightforward trend,” GOP pollster David Winston said.

Find out more in the Washington Examiner article about how Republicans in past elections have done among Hispanic voters, and where current candidates stand with this voter group.

Bloomberg Politics: “He Won Two, But Obama’s Speech Shows There’s Always a Next Election”

by Emily O'Connor

How might the policies President Obama addressed in the State of the Union speech affect the 2016 elections? The WG’s David Winston comments in Bloomberg Politics:

Republicans argue that Obama’s economic policies will only hurt Clinton. They say the results of the 2014 midterm elections, in which Republicans won back the Senate and expanded on their majority in the House, repudiated those policies. “It puts her in a very difficult position,” Republican pollster David Winston said of Hillary Clinton. “The public has said in exit polls they don’t agree with that argument. And she’s supposed to carry that ball?”

For the rest of the story, click 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.

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