A Final Look At What’s Happening

We at Public Opinion Strategies wanted to wrap up the election cycle with some last minute observations about what is happening in the political environment, and how it is affecting campaigns.

It’s been a wild cycle – starting with a Nobel Peace Prize and other unearned accolades for Barack Obama, a failed, jobless, wasteful spending stimulus package that Republicans wisely stuck to their principles and didn’t embrace, and Harry Reid being his usual venomous self.

The game changers came in three races – Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – two of which we were the pollsters in (VA and MA). Since then, we have polled in 142 Congressional races, including nearly every Democratic seat that is in jeopardy on Tuesday, 21 Senate races, and 13 Governor’s races. Much of the work was directly for the candidates, but there was also a lot done for IE efforts. Doing all of those campaigns has led us to six conclusions about what you need to know going into the final hours.

  • The overriding factor that has driven voters away from Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the Democrats is concern about the economy. Democrats tried to blame George W. Bush and Republicans, but they have been running Congress for four years and all of Washington for two years, and their economic prescriptions have failed. Consumer confidence dropped even further over the summer, and that has helped put many more races in play.
  • The President’s approval rating is much worse in the key districts that Republicans are fighting for – especially in the 49 seats the Democrats hold but John McCain won in 2008. His numbers are particularly weak among white voters, and most of the districts in play are above average for white voting age population.
  • The campaign enthusiasm gap is real, and it is worth extra points for Republicans. As 2006 taught us, you can’t make up on turnout what you’ve lost on message. Every evidence – including the early voting numbers that some in the media have dramatically misunderstood – is that Republicans are primed to vote in huge numbers as we saw in Virginia last year.
  • Prediction: Dems will hit their turnout goals in some states/districts (miss in others), but will still be beaten because Republican turnout will shock them. Oh, and Independents are breaking GOP here at the end. The combination is very powerful.
  • The Democrats never had a policy narrative. They have nothing to run on. Their false hits on outsourcing were not seen as credible by voters, and they lack any policy pelts on the wall to point to that voters like. Stimulus? Failed. Health care? Raising costs, lowering quality, and putting government in charge is not going to be embraced by the public no matter how well or poorly it is messaged. Financial reform? Voters don’t believe it helps them. Some individual Democrats will win because they took out their GOP opponents on opposition research (not policy). But failed policy hurts Dems more.
  • Democrats never grasped until too late how much Nancy Pelosi antagonized middle America. When Newt Gingrich had high unfavs, he had the entire mainstream media hammering him. Pelosi has done this on her own – voters are disappointed in Obama and felt he misled them about his approach, but Pelosi is seen by many voters as an elitist snob who despises flyover country. So, instead of attacking the President Americans are still sympathetic to (although their doubts are growing), Republicans could use Nancy Pelosi as shorthand for the need for a check and balance.

The die has been cast for a long time. However, the final outcome on individual races is not fully written. Keep working to the end – even those Republicans who are headed for victory can help other Republicans by increasing turnout and helping state legislative candidates. Finish the campaign, and turn it from a wave into a tsunami.

And, since we’ve got your attention – kudos must be given to a number of committees and organizations who have helped turn around the status of the GOP from floundering to fighting. The National Republican Senatorial Committee deserves credit for recruiting strong candidates in states like Washington and California, remaining nimble to take advantage of emerging opportunities like West Virginia, and for keeping the heat on. The National Republican Congressional Committee has done a fabulous job of expanding the playing field, raising more money than expected, and causing the Democrats to flop sweat like Dan Snyder watching Rex Grossman at quarterback.

And, congrats to the Republican State Leadership Committee for their work, not only in campaigns for Attorney General around the country and other down ballot races, but also in their strong efforts in support of Republican state legislative campaigns to help secure Republican majorities in many states.

Organizations like American Crossroads, American Action Network, Americans for Job Security, Americans for Prosperity, the 60+ Association, and others deserve a lot of credit for early spending to widen the playing field and put an incredible amount of pressure on Democrats, who appear to have thin skin when their own tactics are used against them.

Similar Articles

  • Impeachment Fever Has Hit House Democrats
    read more

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

    read more

    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com