100 days until the Election – RNC Survey Report

From: Whit Ayres
Date: August 3, 2010
Re: RNC Survey




With less than 100 days to go until Election Day, a recent survey of likely voters conducted July 18-21 for the RNC shows that the environment is still ripe for solid Republican gains in November. We will present the full findings of this survey to the RNC Membership this week in Kansas City. Some important highlights include: Republican interest in the upcoming election remains considerably higher than Democrat interest. Given a 10-point scale with ‘10’ equaling “extremely interested”, 74% of Republicans rated their interest between ‘8’ and ‘10’, and 53% of Republicans rated their interest as a ‘10’. By comparison, only 58% of Democrats rated their interest between ‘8’ and ‘10’, and only 35% rated their interest as a ‘10’. Independent voters continue to view the President and Democrats very skeptically. Independent voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country, with only 26% believing that “the United States is heading in the right direction”. Independent voters, like Republicans, disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing (55% disapprove, 44% approve), and hold tremendously unfavorable views of Nancy Pelosi (27% favorable, 61% unfavorable) and Harry Reid (18% favorable, 43% unfavorable). Independent voters favor Republican congressional candidates by a 16 point margin, with 44% saying they would vote for the Republican candidate if the election were held today versus only 28% saying they would vote for the Democratic candidate. When presented as a “check and balance to President Obama and his policies”, Republican candidates are the choice of 59% of Independents. Only 30% of Independents would choose a “Democrat who will support President Obama’s programs and policies”. “Jobs and the economy” continues to be the issue deemed most important by voters. 93% of voters said that “jobs and the economy” is “very important… for candidates for federal office in [their] area to address”. The significance of this issue cannot be understated. Other issues will certainly have a role in the campaign, but if candidates and surrogates are unable to discuss them in the context of their impact on “jobs and the economy” then they risk the appearance of missing the point of the voters’ chief concern. “Government spending and deficits” ranks second among voters with 80% of voters saying that the issue was “very important” and another 16% saying the issue was “somewhat important”. This is a significant change from previous election environments in that budget deficits are no longer an abstract concept to voters. Forcing Democrats to own the words “deficits” and “debt” will put them in a very uncomfortable defensive position. “National security and terrorism” ranked third with 75% of voters saying it was “very important” for candidates to address, followed by “education” (72% “very important”) and “the broken system of government in Washington” (71% “very important”). The survey also tested a variety of broad messaging themes that Republican candidates might use in the Fall. The economic messages that tested best are as follows: 78% of Republicans and 68% of Independents said they would be “very likely” to vote for a candidate who said: “We need to put Americans back to work. We need to get back to creating private sector jobs by providing certainty for small businesses, preventing tax hikes, reining in wasteful spending, and ending job-killing government mandates and red tape”. 79% of Republicans and 63% of Independents said they would be “very likely” to vote for a candidate who said: “We need to preserve our children’s future by ending Congress’ irresponsible spending spree, changing the culture of waste in Washington, and stopping bailouts that force responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior.” Most importantly – whether talking about jobs, health care, government spending, national security, or government reform – Republican messages win when run against Democrat messages. Two examples of this are as follows: When presented with opposing views on job creation – the Democrats “stimulus package” versus the Republican commitment to small businesses -the Republican message won with Independents by nearly 20 points. 56% of Independents selected ’Statement B’ below, and only 37% selected Statement A. Statement A: “The Democratic stimulus package has created or saved more than three million jobs. The only answer from Republicans is voting against extending unemployment benefits and protecting companies that send jobs overseas.” Statement B: “Republicans are trying to protect small businesses, which are the engine of our economy. Democrat tax increases and stifling regulations on small businesses are strangling the primary source of new jobs in America.” Similarly, when presented with opposing views of the Democrat record, a majority of Independents (56%) chose the view that “President Obama and Democrats in Congress have given us too many taxes, too much spending, too much government, and too much debt”. Only 38% of Independents chose the view that the President and Democrats “led us out of the worst economic crisis since the depression, provided health care coverage for 30 million more Americans, and reformed the financial institutions that destabilized our economy”. We look forward to seeing you in Kansas City and sharing the full presentation of our findings. Via RNC Survey About Us
Ayres, McHenry & Associates, Inc., is a national public opinion and public affairs research firm located in Alexandria, Virginia, that specializes in providing research and strategic advice for corporations, associations, and Republican candidates for public office. Roll Call, a widely-read newspaper on Capitol Hill, called the firm "one of the best in the nation," and Campaigns and Elections magazine cited Whit Ayres and Jon McHenry as two of the political world's "Movers and Shakers." Ayres, McHenry & Associates belongs to the American Association of Public Opinion Research, the National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals, where Ayres serves as a member of the Board of Directors, and the American Association of Political Consultants, where Ayres serves as a member of the Board of Directors and President. via Ayres, McHenry & Associates, Inc..

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