Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm, conducted a random survey of 768 registered voters across South Carolina. The poll was conducted from August 15th to the 17th and has a margin of error of ± 3.5% at the 95% confidence level. The total may not round to 100% because of rounding. The polls were conducted using automated telephone calls and online responses internet panels of cell phone respondents and weighted by voting patterns.
Winter Springs, Fla. – When Doug Kaplan co-founded Gravis Marketing in 2010, he envisioned elevating the credibility and reliability of political polling. Six short years later, the non-partisan marketing and research firm based in Winter Springs, Fla. has received countless awards and has been showcased on some of the most recognized news sources in the United States. This past week, Breitbart News Network announced that it is launching a new partnership with Gravis Marketing to create the Breitbart / Gravis Poll Series; which will focus on General Election polling across the United States for the upcoming 2016 Presidential election.
Founded in 2007 by noted entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart and headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., with news bureaus in Texas, London, and Jerusalem; Breitbart News Network has established a solid reputation for delivering hard-hitting, factual news without the slant or bias often associated with today’s news networks. Ranked as one of the Top 1000 visited websites globally according to Alexa.com, Breitbart News Network is a rapidly growing news organization with a similar vision as Gravis Marketing – to provide real time information in regards to seeking the pulse of the American voter.
“The explosive growth of Breitbart News rests on our ability to provide real time, actionable information to our community,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network. “Our partnership with Gravis is focused on just that — quantifying where the American people are on the issues of the day and the trends of tomorrow. Breitbart/Gravis will become a significant voice in the 2016 campaign and beyond.”
Breitbart News Editor-in-chief Alexander Marlow added; “It is not enough to grouse about bias and corruption. The best way to fight back is to get in the game ourselves, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
Gravis Marketing’s accurate polling results have been recognized by multiple media sources in 2016. Bloomberg Politics named Gravis Marketing the most accurate poll during the 2016 primary season but also received an A- grade from Political Pundit Daily at the end of 2015. Gravis’ ability to infuse new data collection methods with remarkably accurate polling samples has rapidly accelerated the firm’s growth and establishes a solid foundation for the new Breitbart / Gravis Poll Series.
“I’m incredibly humbled that Breitbart has chosen Gravis Marketing to partner for their 2016 polling series,” noted Gravis Marketing President Doug Kaplan. “They have an incredible reach, verticals and bureaus all around the world. Our firm has the bandwidth to produce polls efficiently, accurately, and quickly; which was a major factor on why Breitbart chose our team.”
Kaplan continued to state; “Andrew Breitbart was a conservative icon. He liberated millions of Americans from the mindlock of the mainstream media and the news platform he created, Breitbart News Network, is the biggest source of breaking news and analysis, thought-leading commentary, and original reporting curated and written specifically for the new generation of independent and conservative thinkers.”
The new Breitbart / Gravis Poll Series is set to kick off in August 2016. Polling data will be posted at Breitbart.com.
The old adage starts out “an ounce of prevention…” The wisdom is that a pound of cure, after exposure to a harmful element, is far more expensive and painful than the cost of dealing with the issue before it becomes harmful.
When Ben Franklin first imparted his advice, he did not limit it to medicine. Far from it. His statement is an analogy that is relevant in nearly every facet of life – including politics.
When deciding to run for office, candidates must be honest with themselves. They must take stock of their shortcomings and their “youthful indiscretions.” Candidates must take full account of their controversial decisions and votes. They must inventory their own “derogatories” because any opponent with a scintilla of common sense will have their own catalog of your shortcomings with which they might attack.
Once a candidate knows his own points of weakness, he can evaluate which ones might be the most damaging in a campaign. Of those damaging issues, a candidate can narrow down the ones that the opponent most likely knows. Of those, which ones are best documented? Of the issues left, which ones does the opponent have the moral high ground, meaning she does not have the same shortcomings? Finally, a candidate must evaluate how much money the opponent likely has and how much of that budget they might be willing to spend on an attack.
A campaign should be able to identify the one or two issues most likely to be used in an attack. Once this is known, creating a plan to mitigate or even prevent an attack is imperative.
In politics, this process is referred to as “inoculation”. Inoculation can come in many forms, but the idea is that a campaign take control of an issue, and tell its own story, before the opponent decides to go on the attack.
Direct mail is an excellent venue to deliver an inoculation. A campaign should be able to target the audience deemed most important in order to win a campaign. A campaign can pinpoint, with amazing accuracy, the precise households that will be most receptive and impacted by an inoculation message.
As with television and the Internet, direct mail is a visual medium. A campaign must be able to tell a story with powerful images, while using as few words as possible, to achieve its goals in direct mail. If a candidate wishes to inoculate against a youthful indiscretion, for instance, using a photo of a youthful candidate while describing the “offense” is an effective way to contrast with a more mature candidate now. Another critical element in an inoculation effort is to explain how the recovery from the youthful indiscretion makes the candidate a stronger, better choice than if the incident never occurred.
Another reason direct mail is an excellent medium to use is the fact that it is more difficult for an opponent to track. When a campaign purchases television or radio, a public record exists that is available to the opposition. The opponent will know the exact audience that the campaign is trying to reach, and that allows the opposition to mount a counterstrike. With direct mail, the mailing list that a campaign uses is proprietary. Unless the opponent is engaging in some level of unlawful espionage, the mail list is known only to the campaign manager and the mail house – both of whom have professional obligations of confidentiality and nondisclosure.
In some cases a campaign may want to increase the effectiveness of its inoculation message. A corresponding digital campaign can be targeted to IP addresses associated with the mail list used for the inoculation direct mail piece. This tactic ensures that the same households targeted for direct mail will also be targeted for the digital ad. The digital ad can link to the candidate’s web site, social media, or another location that is designed to tell the same story in the direct mail.
The nature of inoculation means that a campaign is choosing to be proactive before the opposition wages an attack. There is never a guarantee that an opponent will go on the attack. However, a compelling case can be made to create an inoculation when the issue in question is one that will move voters. The motivation towards inoculation becomes stronger if the issue is one that is available in public records. Another factor to assist in the decision to create an inoculation message is the resources of the opposition. By studying publicly available finance reports, a campaign can evaluate if the opponent has enough resources to issue a negative message.
Whether or not to issue an inoculation is a decision that a candidate should not make on his or her own. Objective, experienced, and skilled consultants can help guide a campaign in tough situations such as these. The professionals at Gravis Marketing are experienced and trained to handle the most difficult campaigns. No matter what situation you are facing, Gravis has been there. Gravis can help you tell your story, and Gravis can help you identify the exact audience for each story.
Conventional political wisdom when a candidate is faced with a scandal, controversy, or caught in a generally difficult situation is to either spin the situation or to pivot and redirect. Neither of these responses directly addresses the issue, and both allow for the possibility for the issue to rear its head in the future.
On the other hand, it may be advantageous for a candidate to openly address an issue, own the issue, and control the issue.
In the history of American politics, every candidate for office has been, presumably, a human being. Not a single human being breathes on earth who has not made mistakes. Mistakes, how we handle them, atone for them, and learn from them shape who we are.
We do not place our mistakes on our resumes, and candidates do not typically run for office by putting their worst foot forward. So how do we effectively deal with our mistakes, or our candidates’ mistakes, when we are reasonably certain that they will become issues on the campaign trail?
Just as no candidate in the history of politics is without sin, no voter is devoid of making mistakes. The difference is that the voter is not wearing the same target that the candidate is.
Before explaining why owning an issue may be the correct path for a candidate, we should explore why spin and pivot techniques may be the incorrect path.
“Spin” is generally considered a biased method of retelling history or explaining an event or decision. The problem with spin is that it requires the candidate or campaign team that is responding to tacitly concede that the situation to which they are responding is a negative situation. Another problem with spin is that most voters may not be able to define what “spin” means, but they know it when they see or hear it. Spin usually works only with the devoted following of the candidate delivering the biased message. Spin only addresses a small audience and generally serves to restore confidence in a candidate’s base rather than speak to undecided voters.
In essence, spin is a form of triage in the political battlefield that is designed to stop the hemorrhaging of a candidate’s support. Spin should never be used as a long term solution. In fact the use of spin may not be advisable in any situation because it is often viewed as dishonest.
For example, a candidate for the United States Senate may have had a very successful fundraiser. Many dignitaries attended, the open bar was flowing, and everyone had a good time. The candidate has a lapse of judgment and decides to drive home. On the way home, the candidate is pulled over for suspected intoxication. The resulting video is embarrassing as the candidate used the feeble “do you know who I am” line that was clearly recorded on the officer’s camera. The candidate also refuses any tests to indicate inebriation.
The following day, that campaign team chooses to spin the story and claims that the Senate candidate was not inebriated but merely tired from a very long day of campaigning. The campaign attempts to explain the use of the thinly veiled “do you know who I am” threat as the candidate’s effort to merely help the police officer understand what kind of day she had. The candidate’s devoted followers quickly accept the story, but voters who were previously leaning towards voting for that candidate are now in the “undecided” category. Stalwarts of the opposition, however, are able to take pot shots at the cover story and use the situation to increase mistrust.
The “pivot and redirect” method is also a less than optimum choice because the essence of redirecting requires that the candidate does not answer to the negative issue or situation. Instead, the idea is to distract voters with another issue. This method may be successful if the issue upon which the candidate can pivot is egregious enough to divert voters. However, an unanswered situation may revisit the candidate’s campaign at an inopportune time.
In the situation described above, the same Senate candidate’s campaign chooses the pivot method instead of spin. In responding to the situation, the campaign creates an elaborate story in which they blame the opposition for falsely tipping the police to their candidate’s whereabouts on the way home from the fundraiser. In a double-down effort, the campaign points out that there is no evidence of driving while intoxicated since the candidate refused a breathalyzer and invoked the Constitutional right to an attorney.
In doing this, the candidate provides an opportunity for the opponent to take control of the media. The question still remains whether or not the candidate did something wrong. The issue is not closed and can return. Also, the only audience that will buy into the pivot response are the devotees of that candidate. Voters who were not solidly in that candidate’s corner are now shaky.
By owning the issue, however, a campaign takes full control of the media. The campaign does not hint at the opposition. The embattled campaign addresses all voters and not just the dedicated followers.
In the same situation, the Senate campaign holds a press conference the following day to address the traffic stop. The candidate begins by telling the story of a young person in their state who was recently killed by a distracted driver. The candidate talks about statistics involving intoxicated drivers, distracted driving, and driving while fatigued or sleepy. The press conference discusses safe driving and the need for all drivers to be responsible and how to be responsible and respectful when dealing with law enforcement. The candidate apologizes for the embarrassing use of the “do you know who I am” phrase and to the officer specifically. Finally, the candidate announces an initiative to address distracted driving while in Washington.
By taking full ownership of the event, exhibiting contrition, and proposing a solution to a larger problem (remember that the candidate talked about statistics of distracted driving during the press conference), the candidate controlled the issue and possibly turned it into a positive situation. Not only are the devoted followers still on board, but all voters are listening to the message of the senate candidate.
The decisions on how to handle difficult scenarios are serious and can impact not only the outcome of the current campaign but the long term political viability of a candidate. No candidate should address these dire situations without objective, skilled assistance. The professionals at Gravis Marketing are experienced and trained to handle the most difficult situations. No matter what situation you are facing, Gravis has been there. No candidate should go it alone. Let Gravis stand with you.
Winter Springs, Fla. – With less than 48 hours remaining before the 2016 Presidential Primary season officially kicks off with the Iowa Caucus on Monday February 1st, 2016, recent polling completed by Gravis Marketing on behalf of One America News Network suggests both Democrat and Republican Caucus are simply too close to call. The non-partisan political public relations, polling and marketing firm based in Winter Springs, Fla. conducted a random survey of 1,827 registered, likely primary voters in Iowa from January 26th and 27th and has a margin of error of ± 2% (4% for Republicans and 3% Democrats) with a confidence level of 95 percent.
The OANN Poll; which was completed using IVR Technology automated call system received feedback from 724 Republicans, 810 Democrats, and the remainder of the total 1,827 people polled indicating they were independents or another party. When asked ‘How likely are you to vote in the Iowa Caucuses on February 1st, 2016′, 68 percent stated they were ‘very likely’, 20 percent indicated they were ‘likely’ and 13 percent stated they were ‘somewhat likely’.
The potential voters in Iowa were also asked about in the IVR survey their confidence level of existing political office holders, President Barack Obama and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst. When asked about approving or disapproving of President Obama’s performance, 50 percent indicated they currently disapprove, 43 percent stated they currently approve while seven percent were unsure when asked. In regards to Senator Ernst, 42 percent currently disapprove, 35 percent approve and 23 percent remain unsure of the Freshman Senator’s job performance.
The scope of the Gravis Marketing web based dialer poll then shifted to asking the potential voters about which candidates for each party they intent to vote for on Monday’s Caucus. When asked, ‘Assuming you had to vote today, which 2016 GOP Candidate would you vote for’, 31 percent of likely Republican voters suggested they would vote for Donald Trump, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz received 27 percent support. Florida Senator Marco Rubio placed third – with 13 percent, Dr. Ben Carson received seven percent support while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush rounded off the top five with six percent of the potential vote.
On the Democrat Party side of things, when asked ‘Assuming you had to vote today, which 2016 Democrat Candidate would you vote for’, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton captured 53 percent, Senator Bernie Sanders received 42 percent while Martin O’Malley netted a mere five percent support of potential Democrat Party voters.
Gravis Marketing President Doug Kaplan offered analysis of the final OANN / Gravis Marketing poll prior to the Iowa Caucus on Monday. “The polling indicates that a victory for Mrs. Clinton is highly likely, even with Sanders closing the margin considerably in the past few weeks,” stated Kaplan. “Based on previous polling we completed after each Democrat debate, the results show that she clearly has won all debates between the three candidates. Regardless of her opponent, it appeared that there was going to be drama followed by the media and stimulated by Republicans wanting a political race – as opposed to a coronation.”
“One path to victory for Sanders was to follow a 2008 standard set forth by Barack Obama, trying to convince young, male, African-American progressive leaning voters with Caucasian voters with Master’s Degree education or higher to vote for him. Although he appears to have captured a small minority of these voter support based on demographic research from our polling, it looks to be falling short of expectations. Even if he were to pull an upset in Iowa and continue into New Hampshire, it’s highly unlikely that momentum would continue to South Carolina. Another item to consider will be voter turnout; as in 2008, Obama received a tremendous amount of support from traditionally uncommon voters. The key to victory or keeping it close for Sanders will be voter turnout. If Bernie Sanders can rally the troops and bring in larger than expected numbers – he can pull out the upset – or keep it close.”
“On the Republican side – the results on Monday will be interesting to analyze. Last month we suggested that it was very possible that Ted Cruz peaked too early in Iowa; and based on this week’s polling, that statement seems to be holding water,” Kaplan continued when analyzing Gravis Marketing polling for Republican Caucus members. “When Donald Trump skipped the last Fox News debate, the focus shifted on Cruz. In person, Mr. Cruz is very engaging – while on television; his effectiveness seems to falter. Two reasons for his dropping poll numbers could be comments from all candidates and many political insiders about his ability to work with others in the Senate; suggesting that if he can’t get along with colleagues – how can he oversee all aspects of the Federal Government?”
“The support of former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin also may have helped push Trump to a potential Iowa victory,” concluded Kaplan. “Gaining Gov. Palin’s support was a game changer for Trump – who has pretty much lead wire-to-wire in pre-primary polling. She is the face of the Tea Party movement and is extremely popular with traditional conservative voters. Capturing the support of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Jerry Falwell Jr. is also vital for Trump – who is not a strongly religious man. Cruz has established a strong ground campaign – and his ground effort could show dividends in the end. Don’t count out Marco Rubio’s recent strength in the last debate to help his campaign gain additional support in Iowa.”