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GQR Names Lindsey Reynolds Chief Operating Officer

GQR Names Lindsey Reynolds Chief Operating Officer

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is pleased to announce the newest member of its senior leadership team, its new Chief Operating Officer Lindsey Reynolds. 

Reynolds joins GQR this month after 10 years with the Democratic National Committee, where she served as both Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Office of the Secretary. As the DNC’s COO, Reynolds worked with the Party’s Chair and CEO to manage over 150 staff, open scores of offices nationwide during the 2016 campaign, and manage the logistics of the Party’s 2016 convention and its participation in the televised debates. Earlier with the DNC, Reynolds served as Executive Director of Democrats Abroad.

Before working in Washington, DC, Reynolds served as Executive Director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, and as an independent consultant offering campaign strategy and fundraising expertise to a diverse group of clients in Virginia, DC and Maryland. Earlier, she served as Director of Finance for the Virginia Joint Democratic Caucus and was legislative aide and Deputy Campaign Manager to Virginia’s Democratic State Senator Stanley Walker for his 1999 reelection campaign.

GQR is excited about the high-level political and management experience that Reynolds brings to the firm, her lifetime commitment to progressive politics, and her extensive networks among top Democratic leaders across the country and around the world. 

GQR is a world-leader in public opinion research and strategic advice for progressive campaigns, governments, businesses, and organizations. Founded in 1980 by Stanley Greenberg, the firm has advised the campaigns and governments of world leaders including President Nelson Mandela, President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and US Senator Maggie Hassan – one of only two Democrats to beat a Republican incumbent in 2016. 

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Names Kristi Lowe and Elizabeth Sena as Partners

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Names Kristi Lowe and Elizabeth Sena as Partners

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is pleased to announce that it has today promoted GQR Vice Presidents Kristi Lowe and Elizabeth Sena to become partners in the firm. 

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Promotes Brian Paler and Peter McLeod as new Vice Presidents

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Promotes Brian Paler and Peter McLeod as new Vice Presidents

We are pleased to announce the promotions of Brian Paler and Peter McLeod to Vice President. 

Why did pollsters like me fail to predict Trump’s victory?

Why did pollsters like me fail to predict Trump’s victory?

By Stanley Greenberg
Appeared in The Guardian on November 15, 2016.

America is being shaped irreversibly by a growing new majority of millennials, racial minorities, immigrants and secular people. So how did the presidential election produce such a reactionary result, surprising all the pollsters, including me? “Shy” Tories and Brexiters apparently upended Britain. Did “shy” Trump voters upend America?

To understand what happened, you have to start with the demand for “change”.

The elites, academics, pundits and even President Barack Obama look at the US and see a dynamic country that is economically and culturally ascendant. But America is also a country of deepening inequality and growing political corruption. Most people struggle with declining or stagnant incomes, while CEOs and billionaires have taken most of the gains in income and wealth. More than anything, people are angry that the game appears to be rigged by corporate special interests.

Donald Trump managed to become the Republicans’ candidate of change by attacking crony capitalism, trade deals favoured by big business, the billionaire SuperPacs that fund the candidates and Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. That allowed him to ride the support of the Tea Party and white people without a four-year college degree all the way to the nomination.

But the cry for change coming from the new liberal American majority was just as intense. Bernie Sanders’ call for a “revolution” produced landslide victories with millennials and white Democrats without a four-year degree. This progress nearly allowed him to contest the convention. No less than Trump, Sanders attacked Clinton for her Wall Street speeches and SuperPacs.

Clinton achieved her most impressive leads in the polls when she, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren embraced after the primaries and after her convention speech that demanded an economy that worked for all, not just the well connected. She emerged with her biggest lead when she closed the debates with a “mission” to “grow an economy, to make it fairer, to make it work for everyone”, and “stand up for families against special interests, against corporations”.

That led many more voters to see Clinton as standing for the American middle class, which most working people aspire to, and being better on the economy, truthful and willing to stand up to special interests.

Working as a pollster for Bill Clinton in 1992 and Al Gore in 2000, I watched voters settle into their decisions immediately after the debates. Trump and Hillary Clinton were both talking about change, and Clinton was winning.

But then the campaign’s close was disrupted by a flood of hacked emails, whose release was linked to Russia, intended to show that friends of Bill Clinton were using the Clinton Foundation to enrich the former president, and then by FBI director James Comey’s letter to Congress announcing the reopening of his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

This allowed Trump to close his campaign with a call to “drain the swamp” and reject “the Clintons’ big business trade deals that decimated so many communities”.

The Clinton campaign fought back. It attacked Comey for his unprecedented intervention and then used its advertising muscle to shift the spotlight from Clinton to Trump. Its ads running right through the very last weekend showed Trump at his worst. By then, nobody could remember that Hillary Clinton was a candidate with bold economic plans who demanded that government should work for working people and the middle class, not corporations. She was no longer a candidate of change.

As President Obama campaigned for her at the end, Clinton urged voters to “build on the progress”. She closed her campaign with a call for continuity and incrementalism. That turn is why the polls turned out to be so wrong.

This was a “change election” for the new American majority too, and that late turn by Clinton produced disappointing turnout among Hispanics, African Americans, single women and millennials. The African Americans’ greatly diminished turnout in Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee likely gave the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump.

Clinton’s total vote fell well below Obama’s in 2008 and 2012.

The new American majority really did make up the majority of voters for the first time, and they helped Clinton win the popular vote. But their late pull back upended the pollsters’ key assumptions about turnout.

The other change voters, the white men without a four-year college degree, did their part too. They were never shy about their support for Trump, but concentrated in rural and smaller towns in the rust belt, they became even more consolidated in their support for him, put out lawn signs and turned out to vote in unprecedented numbers. Our polls showed him with a 36-point lead before the conventions. But further consolidation and higher-than-expected turnout gave Trump an unimaginable 49-point lead and 72% of the vote among this group. The Trump vote was never shy, just not fully consolidated.

And don’t forget the non-college-educated white women who, after all, are a majority of the white working class. Through most of the campaign, Trump’s disrespect of women and Clinton’s plans for change allowed her to compete with him for their support. She trailed by just nine points after the debates. But with Clinton mostly attacking Trump and no longer talking about change, the women shifted, almost unnoticed but dramatically, to Trump. He won them by 27 points, a nine-point bigger margin than that achieved by Romney in 2012.

These late turns allowed Trump to win Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by a percentage point.

America has changed, but this change election produced a reactionary result.


The 21 things you need to know to understand why Britain voted Leave

The 21 things you need to know to understand why Britain voted Leave

As the polls closed for the UK’s EU referendum, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner put a poll into the field to understand why voters made the choices they did. Conducted on behalf of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), it shows a nuanced picture. Britain is not divided into two tribes, immigration was central but so was sovereignty. The Remain campaign won the economic debate but it didn’t count for much with Leave voters.

Click here for the 21 things you need to know to understand the result.
The full questionnaire can be found here and data tables here.  

For more information contact or tweet James Morris (@jamesdmorris)

Labour Needs Something New

Labour Needs Something New

Ever since Tony Blair said he wouldn’t stand for a fourth term, the Labour party has been wrestling with a central question: whether to continue with his approach to politics or move in a different direction. In his recent article, Blair argued that his way is more needed than ever. Voters don’t agree.

Democrats Should Double Down on ‘Women’s Issues’

Democrats Should Double Down on ‘Women’s Issues’

This article by Anna Greenberg, partner and Senior Vice President of GQR, originally appeared in  Politico Magazine on December 02, 2014.

What if Democrats are about to learn the wrong lesson from the 2014 midterm election? In the initial period after the Democratic Party’s dramatic defeat, there was much criticism about how the party focused too much on “women’s issues,” an emphasis that allegedly cost the party races like Mark Udall’s Colorado Senate seat. Indeed, just days after the election, unnamed Democrats expressed frustration with Nancy Pelosi for “focusing so strongly on women without a broader message that could play to other groups, such as older voters and men.”

But as post-election research suggests, it increasingly appears that both parties actually missed an opportunity to appeal successfully to female voters. There’s no evidence that Democratic candidates went too far discussing “women’s issues” or that “women’s issues” represent a narrow rather than “broad” message. In fact, there is considerable evidence the discussion (and Democrats) did not go far enough.

Part of the problem with “blaming” Democratic losses on a hyperfocus on women is the narrow way “women’s issues” have been defined by the media and party politicians. The “fight” over the women’s vote has been seen primarily in terms of reproductive rights, with the Democratic Party as the defenders of a woman’s right to choose and the Republican Party as the defenders of “traditional motherhood.” Make no mistake, access to safe, legal abortion is foundational to women’s social and economic freedom. But this focus excludes the broader range of concerns — particularly economic — that women face.

It is true that in 2012, President Barack Obama’s “women’s agenda” expanded slightly to include touting the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay legislation and opposition to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. But it was not until this year that party leaders like Pelosi and Rosa DeLauro put together a comprehensive proposal called “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds.” It included pay equity, paid sick leave, increasing the minimum wage, expanding educational opportunities and protection from pregnancy discrimination. The agenda was supported with events in congressional districts and a bus tour; many Democratic candidates for the House and Senate in a number of races trumpeted their support for equal pay.

Republican candidates, too, clearly saw the benefit of appearing to be advocates for women. (After all, the electorate is majority female.) Unlike 2010, when Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch’s statements about gender collectively launched a “war on women,” this time around the GOP moderated its rhetoric and blurred distinctions on issues like access to reproductive health care. The party devoted a lot of energy to training its candidates to be less scary to women, to perform better on abortion rights and to appear more moderate. Some Republicans in swing districts even talked about pay equity, including Frank Guinta in New Hampshire, who beat Carol Shea-Porter, and Elise Stefanik in New York’s 21st District, who will be the youngest women ever elected to Congress.

As such, this focus on women’s issues turned out to be mostly symbolic — less to promote a comprehensive women’s economic agenda and more an issue sprinkled here and there. Democrats used equal pay as an attack on Republicans to suggest they were out of the mainstream, and Republicans used equal pay to demonstrate that they were squarely in it. Their Republican opponents even attacked Democratic candidates Kathleen Rice (New York’s 4th District) and John Faust (Virginia’s 10th District) for being unsupportive of women in the workplace.

Far from hurting them, a more fulsome conversation about the economic standing of women might very well have helped Democrats, as at least one post-election poll shows that a candidate’s position generically on “women’s issues” was among the top reasons to vote Democratic. In regression analysis, a candidate’s position on women’s issues was the strongest predictor of the vote for a Democratic candidate, stronger than a candidate’s position on issues like Social Security and Medicare and on health care.

Democrats lost this year, in part because they “underperformed” with female voters (though they did slightly better among women than in 2010). In part, this can be explained by a drop in turnout among Democratic base voters, who are more likely to be female. It can be explained by the reassurance or “moderation” that better Republican candidates offered female voters on birth control, choice and equal pay. Even so, in states where there were more robust conversations about women’s economic standing, such as New Hampshire and North Carolina, Democrats performed significantly better among women than nationally: Jeanne Shaheen won women by 19 points (59 percent to 40 percent), Kay Hagan won women by 12 points (54 percent to 42 percent), and even Mark Udall won women by 8 points (52 percent to 44 percent).

In fact, there is considerable evidence that Udall lost his reelection bid not because there was too much discussion of issues like a woman’s right to choose but because he failed to make the case he was the best candidate for the middle class and working women, specifically. According to a post-election poll conducted for NARAL Pro Choice America/Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Udall had significant and strong advantages on women’s reproductive health, and they were powerful reasons to vote against Cory Gardner. But he had only low-single-digit advantages over Gardner on who would do a better job “taking on the corporate interests and fighting for the middle class” (45 percent Udall, 40 percent Gardner) and “promoting economic policies that help working women and families” (45 percent Udall, 42 percent Gardner).

Looking forward, the lesson of this election is that Democrats lacked an economic narrative that could convince voters that they would do a better job looking out for people who are struggling to get into or to stay in the middle class. The particular financial challenges that women face are inextricably related to our nation’s ongoing economic woes. The rise of female breadwinning and single parenting has created a set of economic challenges that women, as a whole, have never experienced before (women of color, of course, have faced these issues for much longer).

Indeed, we appear to be at the precipice of a revolt against the way work and pay are structured in society, especially for women, who are more likely to be single parents, more likely to be concentrated in low-wage work and more likely to bear the brunt of caretaking responsibilities. Now, more than 40 percent of children are born to unmarried women, and women head more than 80 percent of single-parent households. Forty percent of all households with children age 18 or younger include a mother who is the sole or primary source of income — compared with just 10 percent in 1960. Overall, 41 percent of all mothers are the primary breadwinners, and 22 percent are co-breadwinners. Women make up two-thirds of the low-wage workers in the United States, and women are more likely to live in poverty than men.

Instead of abandoning “women’s issues,” Democrats should double down — become the champions of policy changes that would improve women’s economic standing, not simply because they would be incredibly politically popular, but because they could actually transform people’s lives. The party’s representatives should vote not simply to close the pay gap between men and women but to raise the minimum wage and wages across the board. They should vote for policies that would subsidize the cost of child care and expand early childhood education, and they should push for more flexible workplaces where workers could have more power over their schedules and receive paid sick and parental leave. And, of course, they should preserve and expand access to reproductive health care and birth control.

And, by the way, these policy changes would help a lot of men, too.


Why Cameron’s Reform Plans Are Key to Preventing Brexit

Why Cameron’s Reform Plans Are Key to Preventing Brexit

If David Cameron succeeds in his efforts to negotiate a better deal from the EU, our new poll shows that he adds 10 points to the power of the remain campaign’s argument with swing voters. But that is far from the biggest prize when it comes to winning the referendum.

EU Referendum is Still Up for Grabs

EU Referendum is Still Up for Grabs

This article by James Morris, partner and Director of GQR’s London Office, originally appeared in the Times. Tables for the poll mentioned in the article can be found here and the questionnaire here.

Final UK marginal poll

Final UK marginal poll

  • Below are the tables for the UK Labour marginal poll referred to in the Guardian, conducted 27-30 April.
  • The poll was conducted across a set of non-Labour held target constituencies. Data were weighted by region, gender, age, social grade, ethnicity, marginality and past vote to be representative of those seats. The 2010 result in these seats was Labour 34, Conservative 37, UKIP 3, Lib Dems 21, Green 1.
  • Prior to the voting intention question we asked respondents for their view on country direction, top issues, and attitudes to the parties and the leaders. The full text of these questions is shown in the accompanying questionnaire document.
  • The final voting intention numbers reflect two further adjustments – filtering to likely voters and allocating those who were undecided or refused to give a voting intention.
  • The likely allocated voting intention in this poll: Labour 36; Conservative 37, UKIP11, Lib Dem 7.
  • As a point of comparison, applying this swing uniformly to the national vote share would have produced a c.5 point Conservative national lead a week from polling day.


GQR congratulates Ireland on historic marriage equality referendum

GQR congratulates Ireland on historic marriage equality referendum

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner congratulates Ireland on the historic Irish marriage equality referendum, which passed with 62 percent of the vote.

GQR congratulates Jim Kenney for historic win in Philly Mayor’s race

GQR congratulates Jim Kenney for historic win in Philly Mayor’s race

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research congratulates Jim Kenney, who won the Democratic nomination for mayor of Philadelphia with more than 55 percent of the vote in a crowded field. Kenney defeated State Senator Tony Williams and former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, among others, despite entering the race late and being outspent 2:1 by his opponents and their allies. With no major opposition in the fall, Kenney is all but assured election in November.

Kenney joins New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as GQR clients who have won mayoralties in 3 of America’s 5 largest cities. This project was led by Anna GreenbergEthan Smith and Kelly Higgins.
GQR also congratulates client Kevin Dougherty for winning one of three Democratic nominations for Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Nationalism trumps the pollsters in Britain and Israel

Nationalism trumps the pollsters in Britain and Israel

When their original campaign strategies fell short, both David Cameron's Conservatives and Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud played the nationalist card. The polarization, emotions and divisions that created were the risk these right wing parties were willing to take to shift voters at the end.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Congratulates Mayor-Elect Percy Fernandez

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner congratulates Percy Fernandez, who was re-elected as mayor of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, with nearly 44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Congratulations to our Clients

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner would like to congratulate its clients on their successful campaigns on November 4th.

GQR Congratulates the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner congratulates the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) – and especially its President, Vlad Filat, and Prime Minister Iurie Leanca – for their successful outcome in this Sunday’s parliamentary election.  

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Names Newest Vice President—Jessica Reis

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, one of the world’s leading opinion research and strategic consulting firms, is pleased to announce the promotion of Jessica Reis to Vice President.

Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao!

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner wishes to congratulate its client Luiz Fernando Pezao for winning the Rio de Janeiro Governorship last Sunday. 

James Morris Becomes GQR’s Fifth Partner

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, one of the world’s leading opinion research and strategic consulting firms, is pleased to announce that James Morris has been promoted to become the firm’s fifth partner.

GQRR Helps San Diego Become Largest American City to Raise Minimum Wage -- But the Fight is Just Beginning

GQRR Helps San Diego Become Largest American City to Raise Minimum Wage -- But the Fight is Just Beginning

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner congratulates our client, The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, on their leading role in helping San Diego last week become the largest city in the nation to raise its minimum wage. GQRR provided the polling that helped understand the contours of the debate and design the message strategy.