Shhh — Don’t Tell Anyone, But Obama Hurt Deeds in Virginia

Democrats and the press are on a self-delusional kick that Barack Obama had nothing to do with the results in Virginia and New Jersey.  That’s fine by me.  The more the Dems deny to themselves that Independents moved to the GOP and that Republican voters were fired up because of concerns about Obama, the less prepared the Dems will be to deal with it in 2010.

I’ve got Virginia data that makes a different case.   At the end of tracking, we added some questions paid for by the Republican National Committee specifically to measure the Obama effect.  Keep in mind, Obama is NOT the reason Bob McDonnell won — the campaign was much more complex than that.  But, he did help.

The White House is trying to have it both ways — they disavowed Deeds, yet also frantically tried to help him.  The President appeared in one of the few positive ads that Deeds ran for any length of time, the President did a rally with one week left.  I received multiple emails from the President and Organizing for America urging me to vote (I did — thanks for the reminder) for Deeds (I didn’t).  I’d bet my bottom dollar that there were also robocalls done by the President as well.

All this effort was being made at a time when, based on the RNC’s questions that they piggybacked onto my tracking for the McDonnell campaign, the President was not the strongest card they could play.

The dominant national issue at that time was (and still is) health care.  Only 44% of likely voters support the Obama plan, while 50% oppose it.  Intensity is strongly against — 29% strongly favor/42% strong oppose.  The question was worded:

“As you may have heard, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are preparing a plan to change the health care system.  From what you have heard about this plan, do you favor or oppose Obama and the Democrats’ health care proposal?”

We also asked a message question that was stunning for two reasons.  One, it was stunning in its rejection of the notion of the Democratic wave of 2006-08 is any lasting move, and it was stunning for how close it was to the final election margin:

“I’m going to read you two statements, and please tell me which one comes closest to your opinion.

Some/Other people say it is more important to elect a Governor who will help President Barack Obama implement his agenda.

Other/Some people say that it is more important to elect a Governor who will serve as a check and balance to President Barack Obama.”

Voters opted for the check and balance by a 55%-35% margin.  Independents (who voted for Obama by one point in 2008 in Virginia) opted for a check and balance by an overwhelming 58%-25% margin.  Throughout our tracking, we regularly found open-ended comments from Independent voters saying they wanted to balance the overwhelming power that the Democrats have in Washington.   Given the absolute power the Dems have in DC, that is a very strong message for GOPers running in 2010.

We tested the impact of the Obama endorsement — 24% said they were more likely to vote for Deeds, while 32% were less likely.  The minus eight increment on that can not be encouraging to the White House.

Finally, we tested a simple agree/disagree: “Creigh Deeds’ policies are too close to the policies of President Barack Obama.”  Fully 52% agreed and only 30% disagreed.  By intensity, 30% strongly agreed and only 9% strongly disagreed.  Revisionists on the left are blaming Deeds for not embracing Obama enough, but Virginia voters did not agree.  Among Independents, it was 52% agree/28% disagree.

The Bottom Line

Obama was not the deciding factor in the Virginia campaign.  However, he certainly was MUCH more than a non-factor.  Concern about his policies overreaching permeated to a gubernatorial campaign and helped widen the size of McDonnell’s win.  It allowed the campaign to focus on issues that hadn’t been working in recent years for Republican candidates.  Concern about Obama’s policies on spending, taxes, and jobs allowed McDonnell to thoroughly dominate those issues.  The checks and balances message is a key one, but the bigger lesson about Obama’s impact on Virginia is that his policies have put fiscal and economic messages back into play for Republicans.

Similar Articles

  • Public Education Update
    read more

  • Americans See China And Russia As Adversaries Posing Two Different Threats
    read more

  • A New Look At Ideology
    read more

  • Is social media your friend or a frenemy?
    read more

  • Trump’s numbers tied for his peak high as impeachment talk looms
    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 :