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GQRR Polling for the New Economics Foundation: Brexit can’t cure Britain’s crisis of control

GQRR Polling for the New Economics Foundation: Brexit can’t cure Britain’s crisis of control

A new poll, conducted by GQR for the New Economics Foundation, shows that the British public overwhelmingly lacks a sense of control over key institutions in their communities and country – and with Article 50 set to be triggered, those who feel least in control of their lives are more worried than hopeful about Britain’s reality outside the European Union.

Vast majorities of British voters report that they have little or no control over crucial organizations and areas of their lives, ranging from companies that provide them essential services (70% feel they have little or no control), to the Westminster government (81%), and aspects of their community including their local council (79%), public services in their area (79%), and neighbourhood (75%).

Moreover, people lacking control over their lives do not feel confident about Brexit: 48% report that they feel more worried than hopeful about how Britain will be after leaving the EU compared to 42% feeling more hopeful. This is in stark contrast to those who do feel in control over their lives – 58% are more hopeful than worried about the country post-Brexit, only 38% worried.

Further analysis of the results by the New Economics Foundation can be found here.

Notes
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR) surveyed 1,994 people in Great Britain online between 8 and 10 March. Results are weighted to be representative of the total population by age, gender, region, socioeconomic grade, ethnicity and past voting behaviour.

Download data tables showing the results here.

 For more information contact info@gqrr.com or tweet Peter McLeod (@mcleodp).

UK Poll Shows Public Rejects Hard Brexit

UK Poll Shows Public Rejects Hard Brexit

New polling data released by GQR today shows that Britain wants a “soft” Brexit. Voters would be happier with a Brexit deal that left Britain inside the single market and with continued free movement of people than with a deal that took the country out of the single market and gave it full control of the borders. But our analysis of the poll shows that if Theresa May focuses on key threats to the Conservative vote ahead of the next general election, she may take Britain out of the single market all the same.

As Peter McLeod, Vice President at GQR and head of the firm’s London office, writes at politics.co.uk today:

The struggle provoking this predicament has been going on in the background for decades: Conservatives are split on Europe. David Cameron tried to resolve it by holding the Brexit referendum, and in the wake of that failure Theresa May faces a new version of the dilemma. Unlike the country as a whole, Conservative voters are evenly split on what would be the better Brexit. Soft Brexit would leave 48% of them happy, 42% unhappy; hard Brexit would leave 48% happy, 41% unhappy. So May is bound to leave a significant chunk of Conservative voters feeling betrayed. The challenge for her and her team is to assess the risk each scenario poses at the next general election. Our poll suggests it’s a knife-edge decision: Tory voters who would be unhappy with a soft Brexit are about as likely to turn to UKIP as those who would be unhappy with hard Brexit to jump ship to Labour or the Lib Dems.

Read the full article here

Notes
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR) surveyed 1,994 people in Great Britain online between 8 and 10 March. Results are weighted to be representative of the total population by age, gender, region, socioeconomic grade, ethnicity and past voting behaviour.

Download data tables showing the results here.

For more information contact info@gqrr.com or tweet Peter McLeod (@mcleodp).

Was Barack Obama Bad for Democrats?

Was Barack Obama Bad for Democrats?

Stan Greenberg and Anna Greenberg provide a provocative analysis in their new op-ed for The New York Times. Full article here

President Obama will be remembered as a thoughtful and dignified president who led a scrupulously honest administration that achieved major changes.

People argue over whether his impatience with politicians and Republican intransigence denied him bigger accomplishments, but that argument is beside the point: He rescued an economy in crisis and passed the recovery program, pulled America back from its military overreach, passed the Affordable Care Act and committed the nation to addressing climate change. To be truly transformative in the way he wanted, however, his success had to translate into electoral gains for those who shared his vision and wanted to reform government. On that count, Mr. Obama failed.

His legacy regrettably includes the more than 1,000 Democrats who lost their elections during his two terms. Republicans now have total control in half of America’s states.

Why such political carnage?

Faced with the economy’s potential collapse as he took office, Mr. Obama devoted his presidency to the economic recovery, starting with restoring the financial sector. But he never made wage stagnation and growing inequality central to his economic mission, even though most Americans struggled financially for the whole of his term.

At the same time, Mr. Obama declined to really spend time and capital explaining his initiatives in an effective way. He believed that positive changes on the ground, especially from economic policies and the Affordable Care Act, would succeed, vindicating his judgment and marginalizing his opponents.

Absent a president educating the public about his plans, for voters, the economic recovery effort morphed into bailouts — bank bailouts, auto bailouts, insurance bailouts. By his second year in office, he spotlighted the creation of new jobs and urged Democrats to defend our “progress.”

When President Obama began focusing on those “left behind” by the recovery, he called for building “ladders of opportunity.” That communicated that the president believed the country’s main challenges were unrealized opportunity for a newly ascendant, multicultural America, rather than the continuing economic struggle experienced by a majority of Americans.

Mr. Obama also offered only tepid support to the most important political actor in progressive and Democratic politics: the labor movement. In the absence of progressive funders in the mode of the conservative Koch brothers, unions are the most important actors at the state legislative level. Yet when the 2010 election ushered in a spate of anti-union governors, who eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees and passed “right to work” laws, Mr. Obama never really joined this fight. In fact, he spent the last couple of years of his presidency pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a free trade law vociferously opposed by the labor movement. Under President Obama, union membership has declined to 11.1 percent from 12.3 percent.

While the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 were models of innovation in online organizing and microtargeting, they did not translate into success in the midterm elections or in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Democratic turnout dropped in 2010, 2012 and significantly in 2014. Models, it appears, do not substitute for the hard work of organizing and engaging voters in nonpresidential years; models that apparently drove nearly every decision made by the Clinton campaign are no substitute for listening to voters.

Finally, just as he governed, the campaign messages from the president in the midterms and in 2016 were focused on progress and growth.

On the eve of the 2016 election, the president used the refrain: “We’ve seen America turn recession into recovery” and 15.5 million new jobs. Pointedly, he said, “Incomes are rising. Poverty is falling.”

The public’s reaction was stark from the beginning. People did not believe his view on the economy, and his approval ratings fell in Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2010 and in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania in 2014 — the states that led the working-class move away from the Democrats.

Just as important, however, was the discontent brewing with the Democrats’ own base. Combined, the approximately 40 percent of minority, unmarried female and millennial voters disapproved of how President Obama was handling his job in 2010 and 2014, and many stayed home during the off-year elections. Mitt Romney carried white millennials by 7 percentage points in 2012.

Mr. Obama did win re-election that year, though only after embracing Teddy Roosevelt’s populist spirit and criticizing the “breathtaking greed of a few.” He declared it a “make-or-break moment for the middle class.” This posture did not animate his governing message or the 2016 presidential election. The president will leave office with a rising approval rating near the same league of Ronald Reagan, an economy nearing full employment and real wages tipping up. Yet a majority of voters in the last election said the economy was the top issue in their vote.

We think voters were sending a clear message: They want more than a recovery. They want an economy and government that works for them, and that task is unfinished.

The 2016 US Election - Some Implications

The 2016 US Election - Some Implications

Jeremy Rosner, GQR Executive Vice President and Principal, expands on his earlier article: "The 2016 US Election - Explaining the Results". 


Our earlier note laid out 5 key explanations for the historic result of the November 8 US election:
 

  1. A strong, angry backlash from lower-educated, non-urban white voters overwhelmed the weakly-motivated “cosmopolitan” electorate that twice elected Barack Obama and supported Hillary Clinton.
  2. Clinton mostly ran a “continuity” election in a year when 62% wanted change, and did not give sufficient voice to the need for economic change that most voters wanted. 
  3. FBI director James Comey’s unethical intervention on October 28 arrested Clinton’s momentum and depressed her vote enough to account for the outcome. 
  4. Attacks on Donald Trump’s unsuitability for the presidency were broadly credible, but not a sufficient reason for many voters to support Clinton. 
  5. The polls got some things right – including the prediction Clinton would win more votes – but missed a lot of the story, due to factors like bad expectations on who would vote.

 
5 Implications
 
This note lays out some implications, which are becoming clearer day by day. The consequences of this historic election will reverberate across America and the world for years and decades to come, but five implications already loom large:
 
1. The decline of major American institutions. Donald Trump is without question the most unqualified person to win the presidency in modern American history. That is not simply a partisan view; it is something many Republican as well as Democratic voices note. He has never run for public office. He has no real grounding in major policy issues. The fact that he is about to occupy the Oval Office raises major questions about the strength and soundness of major American institutions.
 
It represents, in the first instance, a failure of the Republican Party, which largely acquiesced to Trump’s populist-fueled rise. While some important Republican voices stepped forward to denounce him, most did not, and the party is now largely rallying behind him after his victory. The first responsibility for his rise, election, and presidency lies with his Party, and its long history of flirting with the populist rage that fueled his vote.
 
But theirs is not the only institutional failure. As noted, the FBI and its director defied long-standing policies to intervene in the election during the last weeks of the campaign, in a manner that predictably had a huge impact, and arguably determined the outcome.
 
And there is an institutional failure of sorts among the Democrats as well. The bulk of the party paid too little attention to the frustrations of working class voters, and underestimated their rage. Clinton offered many serious economic proposals, and many were laudable; but they mostly were relatively modest in scope and did not add up to a prescription for the kind of changes that might transform those lacking opportunities and mobility in America’s Rust Belt, inner cities, and hard-pressed rural communities.
 
The world is rightly impressed with the fact that, despite this contentious campaign and unexpected outcome, America is now proceeding with a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. The sturdiness of that American institution remains remarkable. But with the presidency and both branches of Congress now moving into Republican hands, and with Trump certain to install a Republican-appointed majority onto the Supreme Court, there is real reason to worry that we have only begun to see the erosion of key American institutions.
 
2. Polarization heading toward a new extreme. America has been becoming more politically polarized for decades, with each party’s members in Congress moving further apart, and with voters increasingly segregating themselves into more politically homogeneous physical and media communities. But the 2016 election took American politics to new and toxic lows, and threatens to usher in new kinds of polarization that are potentially very dangerous.
 
Particularly worrisome is the sense that it is acceptable for political partisans to prosecute and even physically attack political opponents. The Trump campaign seemed to legitimate threats of violence against its critics, and egged on chants of “lock her up” against Clinton. Threats by leading Republicans to continue investigations of Clinton even after the election outcome raise the specter of a new political culture in which the state becomes a permanent institution of political vendettas.
 
In many other countries, the result of that approach is a culture of “rule or ruin” – in which electoral losers must flee the country to protect themselves – and which in turn leads rulers to cling to power at all costs, through any means, to protect themselves. This political culture is common in various developing countries, but it is horrific to think we could be seeing it take hold in the United States.
 
3. Worrisome implications for national security. Even with the White House, the Senate, the House, and potentially the Supreme Court in Republican hands, the United States generally still retains institutional checks and balances on what any president can do. But that is far less true in the realm of national security, and that is cause for great concern.
 
It may be that Mr. Trump will surround himself by seasoned national security hands, listen to their counsel, and show subtlety and skill in the exercise of American power. But there is little in his record to support that, and the initial steps by Trump's transition team to purge many moderate national security advisers are deeply troubling. The affinity that Trump and some on his team have shown for Vladimir Putin and other global authoritarians, and the active support the Kremlin provided for the Trump campaign, raise questions of the highest order about American sovereignty and security – and about the long-term safety of our allies in Europe and other countries around Russia’s perimeter. 
 
4. A big boost for the “Populist International.” The Trump victory is our “Amer-exit” – the US equivalent of the UK’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union. It is part of the rise across the West of populist, nationalist, usually authoritarian leaders, parties, and regimes. This includes the Britain’s UK Independence Party, Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands; Marine Le Pen and the National Front in France; Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary; and many others.
 
Trump’s win provides a big boost of validation and momentum for all these movements. Like Trump, most of them draw their energy from outrage against globalization, migration, ethnic mixing, and tolerance on issues of gender, sexual identity, and religion. Like Trump, many of them have received open support from Vladimir Putin and his regime.
 
The columnist Anne Applebaum has aptly dubbed this movement “the Populist International.” Donald Trump now becomes its unofficial global leader.
 
Until now, the United States has been the voice for the opposing view, “liberal democracy”: belief in limited government, universal human rights, protection of the rights of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities, and a rational, fact-based, scientifically-grounded deliberation of policy. The fight between liberal democracy and “the Populist International” is the most important fight of this generation.  There is no clear leader for the liberal democracy side of the fight. One will emerge, but for the first time, it will not be America’s president.
 
5. The retreat of objective news. Finally, Trump’s victory has worrying implications for the future of the media, how people get their news, and the quality of America’s political debates. Trump partly won because he emerged as the master of a new media technology. Franklin Roosevelt succeeded partly because of his intuitive mastery of the new media of radio. John Kennedy succeeded partly because of his intuitive mastery of the new media of television. Donald Trump has succeeded partly because of his intuitive mastery of the new media of reality TV and social media. As one writer put it, Trump was the “comments section” running for president.
 
But there are real reasons to worry about the impact of a political culture built around reality TV and social media. This election saw the ascendancy of fake news sites and fake news feeds, which helped give cover for Trump’s many blatantly false assertions (e.g., that he opposed the Iraq war). The decline of mainstream, curated, edited media has made it harder to define a body of accepted facts. The result is a Gresham’s Law of political discourse, with false and flimsy information crowding out the verified and validated.  This week’s steps by Facebook and Google to restrict fake news sites are encouraging, but do not go nearly far enough.
 
With the majority of younger voters getting most of their news from social media, and with more Americans tuning in to news sources that align with their own ideological views, there is a real danger that the political debate becomes stuck in two parallel universes, each with their own insistent impression of reality. All this seems to favor the “Populist International,” which relies on the dominance of rage over reasoned discourse. One of the great challenges surfaced by the Trump victory will be to find ways to make this new media environment hospitable for liberal democracy.

 

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 2016 US Election - Explaining the Result

The 2016 US Election - Explaining the Result

Jeremy Rosner, GQR Executive Vice President and Principal, writes about some of the most key factors that drove the result in this historic election.


Tuesday’s US presidential election was a political earthquake – largely unexpected, deeply unsettling, and hugely consequential. Fully understanding its causes and impacts will take months, but this note provides some initial analysis on five big factors that drove the result:
 
1. Cosmopolitanism lost to “whitelash.” As in many other Western countries, the US is in the midst of an epic struggle between those who have a cosmopolitan outlook (favoring a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious, globally-connected society), and those who are threatened by the forces helping to create such a society, especially immigration and global trade.
 
Hillary Clinton’s campaign was premised on a cosmopolitan view (thus her slogan, “Stronger Together”), while Donald Trump’s campaign focused intensely on appealing to the resentments and fears of the latter group – largely white, non-college-educated, and non-urban. That’s why his signature ideas from the start were “building a wall” and “ripping up NAFTA.”
 
CNN commentator Van Jones labeled this backlash by lower-educated whites “whitelash,” and it fueled Trump’s victory.  His support was 5 points higher among non-college voters, relative to Mitt Romney’s vote in 2012. While Barack Obama won 54% of non-college voters in 2008 and 51% in 2012, Hillary Clinton lost this group to Trump by 44-52%. The heart of this dynamic was non-college white men; Trump won an astonishing 72% of them, according to the exit polls. The surge in support from lower-educated men fueled big margins for Trump in many Republican suburban and rural districts – especially in industrial states, where Trump’s margin over Clinton in some counties was double that of Romney’s margin in 2012.
 
One of the challenges going forward will be to determine how much of the positive response to Trump’s rhetoric was motivated by prejudice against women, minorities, and foreigners; and how much was an expression of economic and cultural anger from working class voters who felt that Washington – including the Democratic Party – was ignoring them. The two impulses are related, and both were at play to some degree, but understanding the mix matters.
 
But whatever the reasons that Trump’s strategy and rhetoric helped motivate lower-educated whites, Clinton’s cosmopolitan message didn’t do much to motivate her natural voters – those who would most benefit from a more diverse, tolerant, global society. Despite all the evidence of Trump’s disdain and abuse of women, Clinton actually won less  of the women’s vote than Obama did in 2012 (54% compared to 55%), and stunningly lost the vote among white women by 10 points (43-53%).
 
Similarly, her vote among African Americans was down 5 points compared to Obama’s 2012 vote (88%, compared to 93%), and fewer African Americans turned out to the polls. And despite Trump’s insults against Mexicans and American Hispanics, he actually received more of the Hispanic vote than Romney (29%, compared to 27%). More Hispanics likely voted than in 2012, but there was no huge surge in Hispanic voting as some had predicted.
 
Without a big surge in the “cosmopolitan” vote, Clinton needed at least a decent level of support from white voters – but she didn’t get it. Only 37% of them voted for her – less than the 43% and 39% who voted for African American Obama in 2008 and 2012.  In key swing states, like Florida and North Carolina, her support from white voters was even lower – just 33%.
 
Without question, the US is steadily becoming more cosmopolitan. The share of the electorate that is non-white is growing by 2 percentage points each presidential election (it was up to 30% this year). The diversity and dynamism of America’s population is one of its strongest assets, and is fueling successes from its technology sector, to its entertainment industry, to its “soft power” in global affairs. But cosmopolitanism sets off strong, passionate resentments and counter-reactions, and Democrats found they cannot just ignore these and still hope to win.
 
2. A continuity strategy was a losing bet in a change election. This year’s electorate was thirsty for change; 62% said the country was going in the wrong direction – amazingly, 10 points higher than in 2012. Trump’s strategy was all about big changes, and he won 69% of those looking for a different direction. More voters wanted “a candidate who brings change” than any other presidential attribute – and Trump won 83% of those who said this.
 
By contrast, the Clinton campaign often based its message on continuity. It constantly stressed her experience. She repeatedly talked about carrying on the work of the Obama administration. Unhelpfully, in his election-eve remarks in Philadelphia, Obama said his government had replaced his 2008 slogan of “yes we can” with evidence of “yes we did” – as if Americans should feel that the needed changes had been completed.
 
Clinton could never have run completely as a “change candidate.” She was too much of an established Washington figure to do that. But she could have gone much further to talk about the need for much bigger economic changes – especially the kind of economic changes that many working class Americans feel are still necessary, after decades of stagnant wages and stifled economic mobility.
 
3. Unsuitability for the presidency was not enough. Clinton and her campaign put tremendous effort into making the case that Trump lacked the temperament to be president. Her speeches, ads, surrogates, and campaign hammered Trump for his offensive actions and comments toward women, racial minorities, Muslims, the disabled, and immigrants; and for being too thin-skinned, impulsive, and uninformed to be a good commander-in-chief.
 
Despite the ample evidence supporting these attacks, they proved to be relatively ineffective, especially with change-hungry voters who were looking for a positive economic vision. According to the exit polls, even among those who agreed Trump lacked the temperament to be president – and a big 63% majority felt this way – 20% of them said they still voted for Trump. In a year when both candidates had historically high levels of unfavorable ratings, the “pox-on-both-your-houses” voters ultimately still voted for Trump and change. Among the 18% of all voters who viewed both candidates unfavorably, Trump won by 20 points (49-29%). There is a lesson here: attacks on character sometimes work; but they usually have to be related to aspects of character that align with voters’ top concerns.
 
4. FBI Director Comey’s unethical intervention. On October 28, just 11 days before the election, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress saying the Bureau had found new emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the investigation the Bureau had earlier conducted, which concluded she had done nothing warranting prosecution. By sending that letter at such a late date – which Department of Justice officials told Comey violated Department policies – the FBI director changed the course of the race – enough to tip its outcome.
 
The well-regarded “Five-Thirty-Eight” website shows that Clinton’s upward momentum died when the letter was released, and that her margin over Trump likely fell by about 2 points in the following days. Exit polls show that Clinton won the vote of those who cast ballots early on, but lost to Trump 42-47% among those who decided in the final week. In a close race, many factors are sufficient to explain the outcome; but Comey’s intervention stands large among them.
 
5. The polls weren’t great – but they also weren’t so wrong. Finally, no explanation of the 2016 result can be complete (especially from a pollster) without some focus on why the polls mostly predicted Clinton would win. The polling profession faces many challenges these days, from low response rates, to reaching younger voters who lack landlines, to finding accurate ways to poll online. There should and will be a deep inquiry into how these and other dynamics may have played a role in skewing polling predictions.
 
Yet if the polling wasn’t great, it also wasn’t so wrong. It is crucial to keep in mind that Hillary Clinton did win – in the popular vote, which is what national polls measure. And her final margin – about 1% over Trump – was only about 2-3 points less than what the average of major national polls predicted.
 
Some polling did get it wrong – particularly in some key industrial states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Some of this was about turnout. Polls don’t help much in predicting who will show up to vote, and in US presidential elections, that matters a lot. Many of the polls assumed the racial mix of people who actually voted would look like 2012, but as noted earlier, African Americans had lower turnout than in 2012. There may have also been some Trump voters who were reluctant to tell pollsters that they planned to vote for Trump, given his socially offensive profile and his public criticism of much of the public polling.
 
But it would be wrong to conclude that the polling was mostly wrong. As many more extensive analyses have shown, the average predicted margin among the major polls was accurate across a wide range of key states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner did the polling for New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan in her bid for the Senate – and accurately predicted that she would win, making her one of only two Democrats to beat a Republican incumbent this year. Very close elections – like this one – inevitably lead to more polls that end up on the wrong side. But most of the good polling got things right in 2016.

NEW UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DORNSIFE COLLEGE OF LETTERS, ARTS AND SCIENCES/LOS ANGELES TIMES POLL

On behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted a new survey among 1,500 registered California voters.

FULL DATA


ARTICLES


METHODOLOGY

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted this survey on behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times. These findings are based on a random sample survey of 1,500 (1,500 weighted) registered voters in the state of California, conducted from October 22-30, 2016. Interviews were conducted by telephone using live interviewers from Survey Sampling International, LLC. Voters were randomly selected from a list of registered voters statewide and reached on a landline or cell phone depending on the number they designated on their voter registration. Fifty-five percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone. Up to five attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter.

The study includes an oversample of 400 known-Latino registered voters, with the total number of Latino voters interviewed at 487 (373 weighted). All interviews among known Latinos were carried out via telephone by bilingual Latino interviewers, and conducted in the preferred language of the survey respondent, English or Spanish. Overall, 33 percent of interviews among the known Latino sample were conducted in Spanish and 67 percent in English. The technique of using fully bilingual interviewers yields higher response and cooperation rates and is greatly preferred because it does not terminate calls with Spanish-language households and require a callback.

Upon completion of all interviewing, the results were weighted to bring the Latino oversample population into line with the racial and ethnic composition of registered voters in California. The data was weighted to reflect the total population of registered voters throughout the state, balancing on regional and demographic characteristics for gender, age, race, and party registration according to known census estimates and voter file projections from several distinct voter files.

The maximum sampling error for the overall sample of 1,500 registered voters is +/- 2.3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for subgroups is higher. The margin of error for Latinos is +/- 4.6 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

This study includes a subsample of 1,382 Likely Voters (1,365 weighted). “Likely Voters” include those who have (1) voted in the last two general elections and report being “almost certain”, “probably”, or “50/50” in their likelihood of vote in Q.8; (2) those who have voted in at least one of the last two general elections and report being “almost certain” or “probably” in their likelihood to vote; (3) those who have not voted in either of the past two general elections but report they are “almost certain” in their likelihood to vote; or (4) those who report having already voted in the 2016 general election. The margin of error for these “Likely Voters” is +/- 2.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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 info@gqrr.com or tweet James Morris (@jamesdmorris)

To Leaders Wanting To Hold A Referendum: Think Twice

To Leaders Wanting To Hold A Referendum: Think Twice

The economic and social implications of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union are still playing out, but the political fallout has already begun.

Danilo Medina: Headed to a Second Term

Danilo Medina: Headed to a Second Term

With one week remaining in the Dominican Republic's presidential campaign, President Danilo Medina is poised for re-election, with a commanding 23-point lead over Luis Abinader.

Returning a Labour government

Returning a Labour government

At 01:53 on Friday 8th May 2015, Marcus Jones was returned as MP for Nuneaton with an increased majority, and Labour realised it was staying in opposition. Civil servants could put down their copies of Labour’s manifesto - its plans would not be realized. Labour failed.

NEW UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DORNSIFE COLLEGE OF LETTERS, ARTS AND SCIENCES/LOS ANGELES TIMES POLL

On behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted a new survey among 1,503 registered California voters.

KEY FINDINGS

ARTICLES

Below you can find articles and stories on findings of this poll:

March 25

March 27

March 28

March 29

March 30

March 31

NEWS RELEASES

March 28

March 29

March 30

March 31

METHODOLOGY

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted this survey on behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times. These findings are based on a random sample survey of 1,503 (1,503 weighted) registered voters in the state of California, conducted from March 16 – 23, 2016.  Interviews were conducted by telephone using live interviewers from Interviewing Services of America.  Voters were randomly selected from a list of registered voters statewide and reached on a landline or cell phone depending on the number they designated on their voter registration.  Fifty-five percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone.  Up to five attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter. 

 The study includes an oversample of 400 known-Latino registered voters, with the total number of Latino voters interviewed at 501 (361 weighted).  All interviews among known Latinos were carried out via telephone by bilingual Latino interviewers, and conducted in the preferred language of the survey respondent, English or Spanish. Overall, 33 percent of interviews among the known Latino sample were conducted in Spanish and 67 percent in English. The technique of using fully bilingual interviewers yields higher response and cooperation rates and is greatly preferred because it does not terminate calls with Spanish-language households and require a callback. 

 Upon completion of all interviewing, the results were weighted to bring the Latino oversample population into line with the racial and ethnic composition of registered voters in California. The data was weighted to reflect the total population of registered voters throughout the state, balancing on regional and demographic characteristics for gender, age, race, and party registration according to known census estimates and voter file projections from several distinct voter files.

 The maximum sampling error for the overall sample of 1,503 registered voters is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  The margin of error for subgroups is higher.  The margin of error for Latinos is +/- 4.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. 

 This study includes a subsample of 871 Democratic presidential primary voters (832 weighted). These voters are registered Democrats, plus registered NPP voters who report being almost certain to vote in the Democratic presidential primary contest. The margin of error for these “eligible Democratic primary voters” is +/- 3.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

 This study includes a subsample of 391 Republican presidential primary voters (415 weighted). These voters are registered Republicans. The margin of error for these “eligible Republican primary voters” is +/- 5.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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.

Is someone out to get you?

Is someone out to get you?

The term ‘conspiracy theorist’ can conjure up the picture of an obsessive crank — intent on promulgating the ‘truth’ about what really happened to Princess Diana or whether aircraft fumes are actually ‘chemtrails’ laced with mind controlling substances.

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.

NEW UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DORNSIFE COLLEGE OF LETTERS, ARTS AND SCIENCES/LOS ANGELES TIMES POLL

On behalf of the California Community Foundation, the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and the Los Angeles Times, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted a new survey among 1,500 residents in Los Angeles County.

KEY FINDINGS

ARTICLES

Below you can find articles and stories on findings of this poll:

October 7


METHODOLOGY

The survey consisted of 1,500 residents of Los Angeles County. The survey fielded online from September 14th to 24th, 2015. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have registered to participate in Research Now’s online surveys and polls. The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of adults in Los Angeles County. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the panel rather than a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error.

 

NEW UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DORNSIFE COLLEGE OF LETTERS, ARTS AND SCIENCES/LOS ANGELES TIMES POLL

On behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted a new survey among 1,500 registered California voters. The latest survey shows:

  • Californians hopeful that El Niño will ease drought, poll finds.
  • Drought is no reason to ease environmental protections, California voters say.
  • Calif. voters increasingly squeezed by drought.
  • Calif. voters overwhelmingly say voting is important — despite consistently low turnout.
  • California Republicans echo U.S. trends, favoring outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
  • California voters sharply disagree on low-cost healthcare for immigrants.

KEY FINDINGS

ARTICLES

Below you can find articles and stories on findings of this poll:

September 10

September 11

September 12

September 13

September 14

September 15

METHODOLOGY

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted this survey on behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times. These findings are based on a random sample survey of 1,500 (1,500 weighted) registered voters in the state of California, conducted from August 29 – September 8, 2015.  Interviews were conducted by telephone using live interviewers from Interviewing Services of America.  Voters were randomly selected from a list of registered voters statewide and reached on a landline or cell phone depending on the number they designated on their voter registration.  Fifty-five percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone.  Up to five attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter. 

The study includes an oversample of 400 known-Latino registered voters, with the total number of Latino voters interviewed at 515 (360 weighted).  All interviews among known Latinos were carried out via telephone by bilingual Latino interviewers, and conducted in the preferred language of the survey respondent, English or Spanish. Overall, 31 percent of interviews among the known Latino sample were conducted in Spanish and 69 percent in English. The technique of using fully bilingual interviewers yields higher response and cooperation rates and is greatly preferred because it does not terminate calls with Spanish-language households and require a callback. 

Upon completion of all interviewing, the results were weighted to bring the Latino oversample population into line with the racial and ethnic composition of registered voters in California. The data was weighted to reflect the total population of registered voters throughout the state, balancing on regional and demographic characteristics for gender, age, race, and party registration according to known census estimates and voter file projections from several distinct voter files.

The maximum sampling error for the overall sample of 1,500 registered voters is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  The margin of error for subgroups is higher.  The margin of error for Latinos is +/- 4.6 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  

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.

President of the World Bank Group: “Are We Prepared for the Next Global Epidemic? The Public Doesn't Think So”

President of the World Bank Group: “Are We Prepared for the Next Global Epidemic? The Public Doesn't Think So”

A new op-ed by the president of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, cites Greenberg Quinlan Rosner’s recent survey of five developed countries, which reveals that the public's in these countries don’t think the world is ready for another epidemic.