Trump’s message tapped into the zeitgeist of America. His consistent message and positioning as a change agent carried him to an Electoral College victory last night. These broad themes were well-covered and “baked-in” to the polling conducted on behalf of NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.
- In the summer and throughout the election voters’ consistently told us they wanted a president that would make major changes, even if unpredictable, instead of a president who would take a steady approach that continued the status quo.
- In August, after the conventions we found Trump’s core message that America was in a “moment of crisis” drew more support among all voters and among key swing voters than Clinton’s message that America was strong and resilient.
Overall, 78% of voters said Trump’s statement described how they felt well with 52% saying it described what they thought “Very Well.” Sixty-eight percent (68%) said Clinton’s statement described their thinking well, with just 36% saying “Very Well.” Trump’s statement resonated more deeply with swing voter groups.
- In September, we found more voters agreed with Trump’s argument that the American economy was leaving people behind, being taken advantage of on trade deals, and facing threats to our way of life than with Clinton’s more positive frame that claimed a resurgent economy that was lifting people up with global partnerships that were effectively confronting terrorism.
Overall, 48% of voters said Trump’s statement described their point of view and 45% chose Clinton’s statement. Key swing voter groups were more drawn to Trump’s statement, as well.
Trump’s victory was due largely to a consistent, resonant message that captured Americans’ feeling of being in “crisis” and their desire for a change in course. And, as Amy Walters of the Cook Political Report pointed out by quoting Public Opinion Strategies Partner Glen Bolger, “You can’t win on turnout if you are losing on message.”