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Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
Election 2008 Analysis
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Election 2008 Analysis
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Election 2008 Analysis

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To successfully assist your candidates in measuring voter opinion and developing effectual messages in order to successfully communicate with voters in the most impactful manner.

To successfully assist your candidates in measuring voter opinion and developing effectual messages in order to successfully communicate with voters in the most impactful manner.

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  • 1. Election 2008 Post-Mortem November 2008 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ● INNOVATIVE RESEARCH ● SUPERIOR RESULTS324 Second Street, SEWashington, DC 20003Office: 202.470.6300© 2003 – WRS – Confidential 2008
  • 2. Company Profile© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 2
  • 3. WRS Scope and Objectives for Political Projects Purpose • To successfully assist your candidates in measuring voter opinion and developing effectual messages in order to successfully communicate with voters in the most impactful manner. Objectives • To work with campaign team members in a synergistic manner. • To provide the basis for opinion tracking of key variables as determined by candidates and conditions. • To develop a holistic methodology that overcomes the limitations of traditional campaign survey research. • To Identify issues and opportunities for candidates to grow support. • To develop strategies and tactics to allocate resources based on our findings. • To win on Election Day. The ultimate goal of any WRS engagement is to successfully assist the campaign and consulting team in measuring voter opinion and developing effective messages in order to win by the widest possible margin.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 4. Quantitative Research Services Benchmark Surveys This is the first survey of a primary or general election campaign effort. This is ordinarily the longest and most expensive single survey of a campaign because many issues, variables and potential opponents are tested at once. We use this type of survey to help develop a long-range campaign plan and the campaign‟s strategy. Benchmark surveys allow the strategy team to play out possible campaign scenarios within the survey, providing respondents with incremental bits of information they may learn during a campaign to test their reactions. Information tested can be both positive and negative and should address your candidacy and your opponents. Brushfire Surveys These are shorter surveys oftentimes conducted pre and post-media flights, to gauge the impact of specific media events or simply to measure campaign progress. Comparing these surveys to a benchmark or previous brushfire study allows us to identify shifts in opinion both in the aggregate and among key target groups. They are also excellent method of monitoring the campaign‟s overall strategy. Are we succeeding? Are we failing? Do we need to adjust the strategy? How effective are our tactics? These are among the many crucial questions brushfire surveys can answer. Panelback Surveys These are separate surveys conducted among the same groups of respondents before and after an event. They are frequently used to gauge the impact of direct mail or specific media but can also be used to determine pre and post reactions to events such as debates or a news program. Tracking Surveys These are short surveys that are almost exclusively used during the closing weeks of the campaign to monitor the status of the campaign, develop closing strategy and tactics. Tracking polls can be conducted in short intervals, usually nightly, with data and analysis available to the client first thing in the morning.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 5. Qualitative Research Services Traditional Focus Groups We conduct our own focus groups, or small discussion groups, to probe issues that are difficult to understand through quantitative methods like surveys. By probing the reasoning and logic of participants, strategists and members of the communications team are better able to connect with their audience. While not necessarily projectable to a broader audience, focus groups give insight into the depth of understanding people have of issues, and sometimes uncover fears and hesitations that remain hidden in surveys. Remote Interactive Focus Groups WRS can also conduct remote focus groups through the use of state-of-the-art video conferencing technology and equipment. This technology allows more observers to witness focus and dial groups first hand without travel or travel costs. That means there is nothing lost in the translation. Our clients can view their groups and capture all the nuances and flavor without having to leave town. Perception Analyzer Group Testing (Dial Groups) WRS also conducts state-of-the-art video testing (advertisements, promotional videos, news segments, speeches, debates, etc.), using interactive, hand-held dials for small and large groups. This technology allows WRS to collect input to the test material from many people at one same time. The dial method permits focus group participants to register their opinions anonymously, reducing “politically correct” responses that are often heard in-group discussions. It also allows for group discussion of the tested material, based on the responses. Interactive feedback will alert our researchers to the parts of the material, which elicit responses that should be probed through discussion. Dials can also be utilized at debate preparation, in which a complete run-through of a debate is conducted with a stand-in for the opponent. This will allow the campaign to identify potentially weak responses before the public debate takes place.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 6. Specialized WRS Research Services War Gaming In the age of the blogs, YouTube, and a 24/7 cable TV news cycle, agility and responsiveness to attacks or developing issues is critical. Wilson Research Strategies is able to test the effectiveness of each response to any potential attack. Conversely, vulnerabilities and their impact on the opponent can be tested to determine which is the most lethal to his or her candidacy. Voter Modeling Voter Modeling utilizes advanced information management technology for sequencing an individual‟s unique “data trail” to predict attitudes and behaviors. Voter modeling identifies individual voter targets, across multiple dimensions, from the most to the least likely to support a particular candidate. This is often referred to as Micro Targeting, but the technical term is actually voter modeling. Personality Profiler Part of the campaign‟s strategy will undoubtedly be to attract so-called “swing voters,” but what is the best way to build support from this key voter group? The Personality Profiler is a quantitative model that segments voter groups based on their lifestyle, personality, demographics, and geography to determine the best way to turn these swing voters into solid supporters. Online Ad Testing Research conducted over the internet has the benefits of being cost-effective, scalable to any size universe, and always available. WRS prides itself in offering clients the most up to date methodologies for internet research, including web-based surveys to online dial testing. Before spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars on a television buy it is often worth the investment to test those ads (in rough or even final format) online to measure voter reaction. This can be either qualitative or quantitative depending on sample size and budget.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 7. Chris Wilson – Founder and CEO Focus • Chris is widely recognized as one of the worlds leading and most credible public opinion research and research-based strategic consultants. He has conducted thousands of public opinion surveys for hundreds of candidates, companies and political organizations. Chris specializes in opinion research geared toward winning campaigns, be they political or corporate, product challenges, public issue contests or legislative battles. He understands that to win, messages and issues must burn through the clutter and reach their target audience. Chris is able to identify and overcome obstacles through targeted communication based on strategically researched solutions. Furthermore, he understands that research is an evolving science and he utilizes cutting edge techniques in order to stay well ahead of his competitors.Pertinent Background & Relationships• Involved in conducting research for dozens of associations. His work runs the gamut from membership studies to massive public communication efforts.• Pioneered the use of research in helping those involved in short-term, crisis management problems.• Considered one of the countrys foremost experts on employee and membership communications, having designed and conducted the pioneering studies in this area.• Extensive background in campaign strategy, political media and message development. He has been particularly involved in many successful political campaigns in the Southern and Midwestern regions. In 1999, Wilson was named a “Mover and Shaker” in American politics by Campaigns & Elections magazine –a campaign industry publication.• Past association clients include more than half of those on the Fortune most powerful list.Credentials• A frequent lecturer on research, strategy and national trends, Wilson is frequently quoted in such national publications as the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is also a regular pundit on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN and a contributing author to various trade magazines.• Graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Georgetown University in Washington, DC.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 8. Scott Migli – Vice President Focus • Having worked with Wilson Research Strategies for almost ten years as a client, Scott Migli now serves as a Vice President of the firm. Scott brings a wealth of experience overseeing research programs and directing the implementation of polling data in campaigns on the local, state and national level. • Scotts experience in the area of designing research plans and implementing research based strategies makes him a valuable member of the WRS team and a tremendous asset to our political and corporate clients.Pertinent Background & Relationships• Extensive background in campaign strategy, grassroots organizing and message development. Scott has been particularly involved in many successful political campaigns in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions..• Scott has worked with associations, corporate leaders and non-profit organizations to to help them express their concerns and needs to legislators at both the state and federal level, and ensure their needs are heard in regards to legislation,• Scott has helped many organizations in defining their brand and message to reach new heights in the area of fundraising and adding new donors to these respective organizations.Credentials• During the 2006 election cycle, one of the most difficult for Republican candidates in decades, Scott served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Republican Party. Under his leadership Pennsylvania ranked second overall in the United States for their Victory Program efforts. During his tenure as Executive Director, Scott worked with the Legislature to pass a Voter Protection Act, which was signed into law by the Democrat Governor of the state.• Migli‟s past work experience includes Department Liaison to the Leader in the PA House of Representatives, Executive Director of the NY Assembly Republican Campaign Committee, Director of Member and Regional Services in the New York State Legislature and campaign manager for numerous candidates on every level.• Scott has served as a guest speaker for many organizations in the areas of grassroots organizing and successful campaign planning, and has been the guest on various TV and radio stations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 9. Methodology Wilson Research Strategies uses Registration Based Sampling (RBS). RBS is an innovative method of stratifying samples based on a set of demographic and behavioral characteristics. The sample for many surveys are stratified based on geography, age, gender, and vote history. This methodology allows us to reduce post- survey ―weighting‖ which is frequently found in Random Digit Dialing and can reduce the reliability of survey results. Respondents are generally screened to ensure that they intended to vote in the upcoming general elections and were not a member of the media, a political campaign, or public relations organization.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 9
  • 10. Message Mapping™ Methodology • Message Mapping™ is a WRS Agree Believe Care proprietary tool used to determine • The message’s position • The size of the bubble is • The message’s position on the Y-axis (vertical) indicative of how on the X-axis (horizontal) effectiveness of potential measures how much the believable the message is illustrates to what extent messages by testing the voter agrees with the for voters. support is impacted by association between respondents‟ statement. • Larger bubbles equate to the message, or how • The higher the bubble more believable much voters actually care views and their support choice. appears on the chart, the messages. about a particular more the voter agrees • While voters may Agree a message. with it and the more particular message would • Care is calculated by the effective the message is change their support, if it correlation coefficients • Messages are represented on in moving respondents’ is unbelievable it will derived through the use bubble charts, providing an easy support. have limited of bi-variate correlation effectiveness. matrixes. to use “map” for further action. • Bubbles located in the upper right- hand corner (shaded green) are the most effective messages.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 10
  • 11. America Is Still a Center-Right Country© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 11
  • 12. unchanged in 2008 from previous elections. While ―liberals‖ were up a bit, this was not a significant change and America is still clearly a center-right country. Exit Polls: Ideology60%50% 49% 50% 47% 45% 44%40%30% 33% 34% 34% 30% 29%20% 22% 21% 20% 20% 21%10%0% 1992 Exit Polls 1996 Exit Polls 2000 Exit Polls 2004 Exit Polls 2008 Exit Polls Conservative Moderate Liberal © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 13. California rejoins every other state other than Massachusetts and Connecticut after passing a Constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.100%90%80%70%60% 53%50% 47%40%30%20%10% 0% California Proposition 8 (Gay Marriage Ban) Yes No © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 14. statutory protections of marriage—the media contention that somehow America has abandoned traditional values is obviously false.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 14
  • 15. The next initiative frontier for conservatives may well be in fighting racial and gender special preferences in higher education and in hiring. Nebraska passed a ban this year and Colorado narrowly failed to do so.100%90%80%70%60% 58% 49% 51%50% 42%40%30%20%10% 0% Nebraska Initiative 424 (Ban on Affirmative Action) Colorado Amendment 46 (Affirmative Action Ban) Yes No © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 16. Passed ban on affirmative action Rejected ban on affirmative action Considering ban in 2010© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 17. Despite the McCain campaign’s efforts, Barack Obama was simply not seen as a liberal by most voters. On the other hand, John McCain was seen as too far left by a substantial number of conservatives.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 17
  • 18. Republicans Started this Campaign with Significant Structural Liabilities© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 18
  • 19. While McCain’s inability to draw meaningful distinctions with Obama hurt, the fact that a majority of Americans thought the country was headed down the wrong track throughout this cycle was also a liability for Republicans. All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track? (NBC/Wall Street Journal, 11/1-2/08, n=1,011 likely voters)80% 72% 76%70% 67% 73% 73% 68% 66%60% 63% 62% 50% 57% 57% 57%50% 49% 54% 53% 47% 47% 43% 50% 49% 51% 47% 47%40% 45% 39% 42% 43% 38% 38% 39% 40% 36% 36%30% 33% 34% 32% 31% 31% 28% 28%20% 24% 25% 22% 20% 19%10% 15% 16% 11% 11%0% Right Direction Wrong Track © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 20. President Bush’s dismal ratings certainly didn’t help us. Do you approve or disapprove of the economic bailout plan that was voted on by Congress this past week? (CBS News, 10/3-5/08, n=957 adults)90% 82% 82%80%70% 74% 62% 66% 66%60% 64% 55% 63% 60% 60% 61% 56% 49% 50% 57%50% 54% 54% 47% 48% 48% 54% 53% 45% 46% 47% 46%40% 44% 41% 42% 40% 40% 39% 36% 35% 35%30% 33% 30% 30% 31% 31% 27% 27%20% 20%10% 12% 13%0% Approve Disapprove © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 21. And by election day John McCain had not achieved a wholesale separation from the Bush Administration and its policies. 2008 Exit Polls: If John McCain were elected, would he:100% 90%90% 85%80%70% Continue A different Bushs direction policies 48%60% 48%50%40% No Response30% 4%20% 13%10% 8% 0% Different Direction Continue Bushs policies McCain Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 22. From Fundraising to Voter Mobilization: The Enthusiasm Gap Mattered© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 22
  • 23. Would you say your vote is more FOR (Barack Obama/John McCain) or against (John McCain/Barack Obama)? (NBC/Wall Street Journal, 11/1-2/08, n=1,011 likely voters)100%90% 81%80%70% 61%60%50%40% 29%30%20% 11%10% 0% For Obama Against McCain For McCain Against Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 24. 2008 Exit Polls: If __________ wins today, what best describes your feels about what he will do as President? John McCain Barack Obama Excited 14% Scared Scared 24% Excited 28% 30% Optimistic, not excited Concerned, 32% not scared Concerned, 20% Optimistic, not scared not excited 25% 24%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 25. Obama’s grass-roots effort on election day. In a closer election this enthusiasm gap between the bases could have cost us dearly.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 25
  • 26. Personal contact matters and Obama outperformed McCain here.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 26
  • 27. This Was In Many Ways a Single-Issue Election: The Economy Determined the Outcome© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 27
  • 28. What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today? (CBS/New York Times, conducted 10/10-13/08, n=972 registered voters)70%60% 63% 55%50% 52%40% 39% 39% 37%30% 20%20% 17% 15% 16% 10% 10% 9%10% 7% 14% 9% 9% 7% 7% 6% 6% 7% 5% 3%0% October 06 July 07 April 08 July 08 September 08 October 08 Exit Polls Economy and jobs Gas prices and energy policy Health care War in Iraq © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 28
  • 29. Now Im going to mention a few issues and for each one, please tell me if you think Barack Obama or John McCain would better handle that issue if they were elected president: The economy (CNN/Opinion Research, conducted 10/17-19/08, n=746 likely voters)60% 54% 54% 55%50% 53% 52% 52% 51% 43% 43% 44% 44%40% 42% 41% 39%30%20% McCain suspends campaign for10% bailout0% 4/30 7/29 8/24 8/31 9/7 9/21 10/19 McCain Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 30. Gallup Daily Tracking: Presidential Ballot, n=2,747+ adults60%50% 48% 47% 48% 53% 51% 51% 52% 51% 50% 49% 49% 50% 45% 45% 45% 46% 43% 44%40% 42% 42% 42% 42% 42% 42% DEM GOP30% Convo Convo Third Debate/‖Joe the Plumber‖ McCain ―suspends‖ campaign Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac20% Palin/Gibson Interview ―Economy is strong‖ Palin Announcement Bailout bill passes Last Two Weeks Second debate First debate10%0% 8/26-28 9/4-6 9/8-10 9/12-14 9/15-17 9/24-26 9/26-28 10/4-6 10/9-11 10/16-18 10/26-28 11/4 Results McCain Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 30
  • 31. August 25-28: DNC Convention Obama +8%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 31
  • 32. August 29: McCain Announces Palin McCain +4%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 32
  • 33. September 2-4: GOP Convention McCain +8%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 33
  • 34. September 7: Government Takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae McCain +3%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 34
  • 35. The bailout bill was overwhelmingly opposed by voters. McCain not only failed in his attempt to lead, he failed on an unpopular issue. Do you approve or disapprove of the economic bailout plan that was voted on by Congress this past week? (CBS News, 10/3-5/08, n=947 adults) Approve 31% Disapprove 51% Unsure 18%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 36. The story about McCain and the economy couldn’t be more clear—the McCain campaign followed the economy down and never got back up.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 36
  • 37. September 14-16: Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers Fail; McCain declares ―fundamentals of economy are strong‖ Obama +3%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 37
  • 38. September 24: McCain ―Suspends‖ Campaign Obama +5%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 38
  • 39. September 26: First Debate Obama +8%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 39
  • 40. October 3: Bailout bill passes Obama +9%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 40
  • 41. October 7: 2nd Debate Obama +9%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 41
  • 42. October 15: 3nd Debate/‖Joe the Plumber‖ Obama +10%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 42
  • 43. October 21st – November 5th: Last Two Weeks of the Campaign 11/05: Obama (Oct. 19) +7% (Oct. 28) (Oct. 31)© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 44. In Congress a Bad Year was Exacerbated by Bad Apples and Out-of-Touch Incumbents© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 44
  • 45. touch with her state and we held Alaska only by the shear force of it’s Republican lean—and probably due to Sarah Palin being on the ticket. Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) After representing Alaska in the Senate for 40 years, he is convicted of seven felonies weeks before the election. Though he barely won, he faces expulsion from the Senate. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (North Carolina) Dole, first elected in 2002, barely visited North Carolina and had tepid connections to the state to begin with. Democrat Kay Hagan was able to take advantage of the positive political environment to portray Dole as out-of- touch with North Carolinians.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 45
  • 46. Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-1) Renzi was raided by the FBI for land- swapping deals and crafting legislation that he and his business partners personally benefitted from, leading to his indictment on 35 different counts. While he was not a candidate for re-election, his scandals left his district begging for change.Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24)Tom Feeney was closely connected todisgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, going toScotland on a trip Abramoff paid for. In hisre-election campaign, he aired an adapologizing for his mistakes, reviving theissue and leading to his overwhelmingdefeat.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 46
  • 47. Rep. Bill Sali (ID-1) Bill Sali, won a six-way primary with 26% of the vote in 2006. Since then, he‟s done little to repair schisms in the local party and even exacerbated them with his fire- throwing brand of politics. In 2008, he was upset by Walt Minnick, who will represent the most Republican seat held by a Democrat. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4) Musgrave became a lightening rod for cultural warfare while ignoring issues related to agriculture, higher education and tourism that provide most of the jobs in her district. After two close re- elections, she was defeated in 2006 by over ten points.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 47
  • 48. Jim Oberweis (IL-14) Oberweis, a dairy magnate, was an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004 and for Illinois Governor in 2006. Despite his repeated losses, he won the Republican nomination for Denny Hastert‟s seat in a special election in 2008, only to lose that as well, and the November general election on top of that. Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-7) In 2006 Walberg ousted a moderate incumbent in the primary, but did little to try to rebuild the local party in the next two years. After winning the 2006 general by four points (while out-spending his opponent 26-to-1), Walberg was a top target in 2008, attracting a strong challenger and leading to his defeat to Mark Schauer.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 48
  • 49. Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) Fossella held this Staten Island based Democratic leaning seat for a decade, until a DUI arrest led to the revelation of an extramarital affair and an illegitimate child. After the death of the replacement Republican nominee and in-fighting to determine his successor, Democrat Mike McMahon ended up winning by thirty points. Rep. Virgil Goode (VA-5) Goode‟s multi-decade career saw him switch parties from a Democrat to Independent to Republican. Goode‟s re- election campaign was damaged by connections between Goode and a film about the life and struggles of a young gay man from his district. Goode was never able to explain these apparent connections and, pending a recount, he appears to have lost narrowly in 2008.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 49
  • 50. Without a Clear Argument for ―Why McCain‖ the McCain Campaign attempted to destroy Obama…with limited success.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 50
  • 51. McCain’s onslaught at the end may have persuaded some late-deciding voters, but those who made up their minds in the voting booth still broke for Obama. 2008 Exit Polls: When did you decide for whom to vote?100% Nationwide90%80%70%60% 52% 54% 54% 52% 50% 50% 48%50% 45% 47% 45% 47% 43%40%30%20%10% 0% Election Day Last Three Days Last Week In October In September Before That (4%) (3%) (3%) (15%) (14%) (60%) John McCain Barack Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 52. While McCain did win late deciders in a few states—Missouri and Virginia most notably—he still didn’t win the late deciders in most swing states as decisively as he needed to in order to close the margins Obama had built. 2008 Exit Polls: When did you decide for whom to vote?100% Voters who decided in the last week of the90% campaign80%70% 59%60% 54% 50% 50% 49% 50% 49%50% 48% 47% 47% 47% 43% 41%40% 38%30%20%10% 0% Florida Indiana Missouri Nevada North Carolina Ohio Virginia John McCain Barack Obama © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 53. Breakdown of McCain and Obama’s television ads during the last two months of the campaign. John McCain Barack Obama Positive 26% Negative Positive 35% Negative 39% 47% Contrast 27% Contrast 25%© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 54. 2008 Exit Polls: Did (John McCain/Barack Obama) run a negative campaign?100%90%80%70% 62%60% 49%50% 47%40% 32%30%20%10% 0% John McCain Barack Obama Did Did Not © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies
  • 55. What We Learned o Though both candidates ran negative ads, McCain was perceived as the more negative candidate because he ran almost exclusively negative ads, and his underdog status in the polls created the expectation for him to go negative. o As a results, McCain was not seen as advocating a rationale for his own candidacy or promoting his biography other than not being Barack Obama. o Too often, Republicans gravitate towards this strategy of vilifying Democrats rather than promoting our own candidates, producing exceptionally shoddy results in 2006 and 2008. We have witnessed more liberal candidates get elected, and non-conservative Democrats winning in solidly conservative areas. o Negative campaigning can be effective, but we as a party must offer an affirmative rationale for our positions or we will continue to face electoral defeat.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 55
  • 56. Our Ever-Shrinking Minority© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 56
  • 57. 2004 was the high water mark of the Bush/Rove Republican Party in Congress.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 57
  • 58. Unfortunately, we saw massive losses, particularly in New England and the Great Lakes region.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 58
  • 59. 2008 saw the continuation of the wave, and large gains in the West and Southwest.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 59
  • 60. Democrats that ran unopposed in 2008 District District District AL 7 GA 5 OR 4 AR 1 IL 17 OR 1 AR 2 LA 3 PA 14 AR 4 MA 2 TN 6 CA 18 MA 3 TN 8 CA 30 MA 5 TN 9 CA 31 MA 8 TX 9 CA 32 MA 9 TX 16 CA 37 MA 10 VA 3 CA 38 MI 14 VA 9 FL 3 MO 1 VT AL FL 17 NJ 10 WI 4 FL 20 NY 6 WV 1 GA 4 NY 9 # of unopposed Republicans: 14© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 60
  • 61. Democrats in the most Republican districts District Democrat PVI ID-01* Walt Minnick R +18.9 TX-17 Chet Edwards R +17.7 UT-02 Jim Matheson R +16.9 MS-04 Gene Taylor R +16.3 AL-02* Bobby Bright R +13.2 ND-AL Earl Pomeroy R +13.1 MO-04 Ike Skelton R +10.8 MS-01* Travis Childers R+ 10.0 SD-AL Stephanie R+ 10.0 Sandlin * Won in 2008© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 61
  • 62. 50 States, not 50% +1  The Democrats have found success running candidates in deep red districts. Even if they lose one election, they are in a good position in successive cycles if an opportunity arises. Examples include FL 16 (Mark Foley), ID 1 (Bill Sali), MN 6 (Michelle Bachmann), and TX 23 (Henry Bonilla).  Republicans, on the other hand, have played more conservatively, letting many Democratic incumbents, particularly urban incumbents, go unopposed.  This mindset doesn‟t just affect individual Congressional races. By operating with a mindset where we write off a third of country, we shrink our opportunities and enlarge the Democrat‟s battleground.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 62
  • 63. In 2004 Republicans leveraged the traditional alliance of the west and the south to win the Presidency. 2004 Electoral Results© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 63
  • 64. In 2008 the Democrats made clear inroads into traditionally Republican territory, winning with a combination of favorable demographics and successful messages. 2008 Electoral Results (projected)© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 64
  • 65. Based on local elections and demographic trends, it is clear that the Republican party is allowing itself to become isolated and marginalized as the party of the South. 2012 Electoral Results (projection based on demographic trends and recent local elections)© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 65
  • 66. The West continues to boom in population growth while the Northeast’s growth is largely stagnant, reinforcing the importance of recapturing the West and Southwest. Population Growth, through July 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau)© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 66
  • 67. Hispanics are currently the highest percentage of the population in the Southwest.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 67
  • 68. However, as Hispanic population growth increases throughout the country, especially in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, reaching out to Hispanics becomes even more of a priority.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 68
  • 69. The Problem  If the Republican party allows itself to be reduced and marginalized as the opposition party and the party of the South, it will become the minority party for a generation.  To prevent this marginalization and retake the west, the party needs to communicate better with two types of voters:  Middle class white westerners who have been moving from the Pacific coast to the Mountain West  Middle class Hispanic voters  Without the unifying factor that communism represented, these voters will continue to drift away from the party, turned away by the party‟s stance on social issues and illegal immigration.  While these issues work very well in the South, they are driving away critical voter groups in the West and in Virginia.  Terrorism is not going to replace communism as a unifying force for the party.  American success on this front has pushed the issue to the back of voters minds.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 69
  • 70. Why Democrats Are Winning  The Democrats have taken the West and Virginia by offering candidates who promise common sense conservative solutions.  Economically trustworthy, pro-gun, anti-Washington establishment candidates should be Republicans, not Democrats, but these are the issues that Democrats are using to win the West.  What is needed is a new language, a new way of communicating with groups that have traditionally leaned center left, while at the same time not driving away voters in the west and Virginia that already support Republicans.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 70
  • 71. The Solution  Most importantly, a convincing and cohesive economic language needs to re-enter the vocabulary of GOP candidates, officials, and party members.  McCain‟s inability to speak convincingly on economic issues was a critical weakness.  This weakness was fostered by years of corporate bailouts and big government solutions put forth by Republicans.  52% of Coloradans thought their state was in a recession.*Ciurli Associates, Sep 19-23, n=501  72% of voters in Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona think good jobs are hard to find . *ASU-Southwest, Oct 30, n=1200  41% of Nevadans blamed Republicans for the financial state of Wall Street, while only 16% blamed Democrats. *Suffolk University, Sept 17- 21, n=600  Obama had a 10 point lead among registered voters in trust to handle the economy, and a 23 point lead in understanding America‟s economic problems. * ABS News/Washington Post, Sep 18-21, n=1001  McCain‟s inability to talk about, and the Republican lack of credibility on, economic issues is what lost these states at a variety of levels.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 71
  • 72. Positions and Messaging© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 72
  • 73. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Global Warming Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that we should begin working Other people say that we should begin working on the problem of global warming but that with a on the problem of global warming but that with a struggling economy that could be in a recession struggling economy that could be in a recession we need flexible goals that will allow us to invest we need flexible goals that will allow us to invest some now and then do more once the economy some now and then do more once the economy recovers. recovers.100%90%80%70%60% 50%50% 40%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 73
  • 74. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Global Warming Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say with a struggling economy that Other people say that we have done too little to could be in a recession, it is just too risky to deal with global warming and that now is our impose new laws dealing with global warming chance to take immediate action on the problem. right now. They say that instead we should work They say that we should act immediately to pass to solve global warming by investing in new new laws and regulations to limit the amount of technologies that will reduce emissions and greenhouse gases that are emitted in the U.S. create more American jobs in the process.100%90%80%70%60% 56%50%40% 36%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 74
  • 75. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Oil Drilling Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that America needs to produce Other people say the solution to our energy more of its own oil and natural gas by opening problems is not more drilling which will hurt the more areas, including offshore areas, to environment and enrich oil companies. They say exploration and drilling. They say we need to we should focus all of our efforts on renewable have cheap reliable energy here at home by energy like wind and solar power. combining more domestic energy production with increased use of renewable resources like wind and solar power.100%90%80%70% 58%60%50%40% 37%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 75
  • 76. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Oil Drilling Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that America needs to produce Other people say the solution to our energy more of its own oil and natural gas by opening problems is not more drilling which will hurt the more areas, including offshore areas, to environment and enrich oil companies. They say exploration and drilling. They say we need to we should focus all of our efforts on renewable reduce the amount of energy we are forced to energy like wind and solar power. import from unfriendly foreign governments by combining more domestic energy production with increased use of renewable resources like wind and solar power.100%90%80%70%60% 51%50% 45%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 76
  • 77. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Gov‟t Spending Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that the government takes too Other people say that we need to expand much in taxes to pay for spending on things that government programs to help with things like the private sector could do better. They say that expanding access to health care and affordable government should stop trying to do too much health insurance, finding solutions to problems and we should cut taxes so American families like global warming, providing oversight of Wall could keep more of what they earn. Street and financial companies to prevent another credit crisis.100%90%80%70%60% 53%50% 39%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 77
  • 78. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Gov‟t Spending Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that the budget deficit and Other people say that we need to expand national debt are major threats to our economy. government programs to help with things like They say we need to cut wasteful government expanding access to health care and affordable spending to balance the budget and help save health insurance, finding solutions to problems the economy. They say that too many like global warming, providing oversight of Wall government programs intrude in the lives of hard Street and financial companies to prevent working every day people or provide special another credit crisis. benefits to just a few individuals and that we should eliminate these special benefits and intrusive regulations.100%80%60% 49% 45%40%20% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 78
  • 79. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Social Issues Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that government should do Other people say government should do more to more to protect traditional values by protecting protect civil rights by helping to protect the rights marriage as between one man and one of homosexual couples to get the same benefits woman, defending the right to life, and defending as other couples, protecting a woman‟s right to religion against secularism. chose and helping to enforce the separation between church and state.100%90%80%70%60% 53%50% 38%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 79
  • 80. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Social Issues Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that government should not be Other people say government should do more to in the business of extending special privileges to protect civil rights by helping to protect the rights various groups. The say that the federal of homosexual couples to get the same benefits government should not be involved in defining as other couples, protecting a woman‟s right to marriage or in telling people where they can or chose and helping to enforce the separation cannot pray or practice their religion and that the between church and state. family and religion will be strong as long as government stops doing things that hurt them.100%90%80%70%60% 54%50% 39%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 80
  • 81. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Foreign Policy Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that fighting terrorists in places Other people say that we need a new foreign like Afghanistan and Iraq is better than having policy that brings our troops home from Iraq and them attack us here at home. They say we Afghanistan and rebuilds our relationships with should reach out to our allies around the world as allies around the world. They say we need to part of our fight against terrorists, but that no focus our attention on capturing terrorists instead other country should ever be allowed to keep our of on overthrowing governments. They say we government from keeping its citizens safe. need to use diplomacy and alliances to limit the danger from countries like Iran and North Korea.100%90%80%70%60% 52%50% 41%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 81
  • 82. I am going to read you some statements and please tell me which statement comes closer to how you feel about that issue and what you would like to see the new President and Congress do in the next few years (WRS Election Day survey, conducted 11/4/08, n=1,000 voters) Foreign Policy Conservative Position Liberal Position Some people say that we need to be aggressive Other people say that we need a new foreign in fighting terrorists both overseas and here at policy that brings our troops home from Iraq and home, but that we shouldn‟t be involved in nation Afghanistan and rebuilds our relationships with building that keeps our troops in dangerous allies around the world. They say we need to areas for years. They say we need to combine focus our attention on capturing terrorists instead strong diplomacy to stop other countries from of on overthrowing governments. They say we supporting the terrorists with a willingness to act need to use diplomacy and alliances to limit the decisively and defeat terrorists anywhere we find danger from countries like Iran and North Korea. them.100%90%80%70%60% 55%50% 38%40%30%20%10% 0% Conservative Position Liberal Position © 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 82
  • 83. All Indepen- Swing Ticket Voters dents States Splitters Flexible goals for Global Warming GW-Technological Solution Cheap reliable domestic energy Domestic energy (national security) Taxes and spending too high Cut wasteful spending Protect traditional values No special privileges for anyone Fight them there so we’re safe hereFight terrorism but no nation-building© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 83
  • 84. National Summary© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 84
  • 85. National Summary  Text© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 85
  • 86. Trends in Pennsylvania© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 86
  • 87. Counties Gaining Counties Losing Population Population Small Gain  Large Gain Small Loss  Large Loss© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 87
  • 88. Presidential Vote Changes Better Republican Performance  Better Democratic Performance *The margin of change between Bush performance and McCain performance and Kerry performance and Obama performance by county.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 88
  • 89. State Legislature Gaines by Party Republican Gains  Democratic Gains© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 89
  • 90. Pennsylvania Summary  Overall, Republican performance has improved at the presidential level in the southwest, while Democratic performance has improved in all other parts of the state, especially the southeast  This is particularly troubling since current population trends show the southwest is losing population, while the southeast is gaining population.  Ten seats changed hands in the State House in 2008, and one in the State Senate. Three of the four Republican house pickups and the senate pickup were in the southwest. Likewise, most of the Democratic gains were in the southeast.  Tom Corbett‟s victory indicates that Republicans can still be competitive statewide. However, we must improve our performance in the southeast. We cannot expect continued improvement in western Pennsylvania to compensate for declining Republican numbers in the Philadelphia suburbs.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 90
  • 91. Two Republican victories in the Southeast Frank Farry (HD-142) Local Fire Chief Frank Farry defeated first- term Democratic Rep. Chris King with a campaign focused on reform and economic development. Farry was the only Republican to defeat a Democratic incumbent in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Nick Miccarelli (HD-162) Nick Miccarelli, an Iraq war veteran and former Chief of Staff to Rep. Ron Raymond, won a Democratic-trending district by a margin of fifteen points, running on strengthening the local economy and providing solid constituent services.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 91
  • 92. Moving forward in Pennsylvania  Republicans can still be competitive in southeast Pennsylvania when we run strong candidates with ties to the community who focus on fiscal responsibility and solutions for the economy  Social conservatism, while popular in the „T‟ and in parts of the southwest, will not help us with voters in the southeast. Fiscal conservatism and a focus on the economy must be our strategy moving forward if we would like to make gains in areas that have trended away from Republicans in recent years.  It is not enough to simply defend the seats we already have in the southeast. We should actively target Democratic incumbents in the Philadelphia suburbs. If we do not, then our gains in the southwest will not be sufficient to prevent continued losses at the state level.© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies 92
  • 93. For additional information about this data please feel free to contact: Chris Wilson CEO & Founder CWilson@w-r-s.com 202.470.6300 © 2003 – WRS – Confidential© 2008 Wilson Research Strategies

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