To:      Friends of McLaughlin & Associates and the Media

From: John and Jim McLaughlin

Re:      National Survey Results

Date: October 22nd, 2014                                                                                                                                  


It’s All About Turning out MORE Voters Who Believe President Obama Has Failed


Survey Summary: With less than two weeks to go to election day the trends are moving towards Republicans, but the race is not done.


In our recently completed October national survey of 1,020 likely voters the Republicans hold a slight lead among all voters on the generic ballot for Congress 42%-41%. However, among very likely voters, the Republicans have a wider lead over the Democrats 46%-41%. Somewhat likely voters, who account for only 24% of the sample prefer the Democrats 39%-31%. The mid-term enthusiasm gap is back.


The dominant turnout trend shows that the voters who disapprove the job that President Obama are driving this election.


Among all voters the President’s job approval was the worst that it has been all year. This approval rating was only 41% and his disapproval rating rose to its highest level all year at 56%. This includes a 36% strongly disapprove to a mere 15% strongly approve.


Therefore, with just two weeks to go, the Republicans get out the vote plan is simple. Identify and drive out EVERY registered voter who disapproves the job that Barack Obama is doing as President. This should be easy. There’s tens of millions of them.


The Democrats and the White House know that the 90 million voters who showed up in 2010 beat the Democrats badly four years ago. So their 2014 counter plan has been simple. Register more voters favorable to Obama. Identify from the 130 million 2012 voters those who didn’t vote in 2010, but who still like President Obama, and turn them out.


It’s a page out of the Karl Rove playbook. We did this in Virginia in 2001 under then RNC Chairman Gov. Jim Gilmore to expand the Republican House of Delegates majority. We identified Bush 2000 voters who didn’t vote in 1999. Then we surveyed and targeted turnout messages to these Casual Republican Voters. It became the basis for the RNC’s 2004 72 hour program.




Ironically, this turnout strategy became the basis for the Obama 2012 campaign. Drive your opponent’s negatives up to suppress his vote and drive out your base. Still 90 million eligible voters stayed home. Among them there had to be tens of millions of voters who disapproved the job President Obama was doing that could have won the election for Governor Romney. But they chose not to vote.


Last year in Virginia we used a similar turnout plan. While the Republican candidate for Governor was trailing our job was to hold as many of the House of Delegate seats as we could. We had been polling for the Republican House Majority Caucus and were responsible for many of their toughest races – especially in Northern Virginia. Our plan was simple. Identify voters who disapproved of Obama and Obamacare and turn them out. It worked and the Republicans won 67 out 100 seats.


So now the battle for the Senate, House and many Governorships is coming down to whether more voters who disapprove of the job President Obama is doing will turnout vs. those who approve.


What puts the election outcome in doubt is that fully one in five of all voters, 20%, disapprove of the President, but are NOT voting for Republicans. In fact about half of them, 47% are voting for Democrats and 53% remain undecided.


What makes these voters different is pretty clear. Only 10% among them are Republicans. 43% are Democrats, but 47% are Independents. So they are not Republicans, but they dislike the President.


So why are these voters who disapprove Obama still not falling in for the Republicans for Congress? Simply put, enough of them blame Republican incumbents, too. Everyone knows that the voters are not happy. For them it’s as much an anti-incumbent election. When we asked all voters, “A lot of Americans are fed up with typical Washington politics. Who do you think is most responsible for our broken political system?”, 27% blame Obama and the Democrats. 26% blame the Republicans and the Tea Party. However, the plurality of voters, 41%, blame both. Among the voters who disapprove Obama, but do not vote for Republicans only 13% solely blame the GOP; only 11% solely blame Obama and Democrats, and 67% blame both.


This shared blame is blocking the Republican wave. The way to remove that block is to generate more turnout from eligible voters who currently disapprove of the job the President is doing.


Complicating the Republicans task is the Democrats advantage on social media which can motivate early and election day voting. In our survey 78% of all voters say that they use Facebook. On the generic ballot they prefer Democrats for Congress 43%-41%. 33% say that they use Google+ and they vote Democratic 44%-41%. 30% use Twitter and they’re tied at 44%. 18% use Instagram and they prefer Democrats 49%-41%. Among the 24% who use Pinterest they vote Republican 44%-43% and the 23% who use Linked-In vote Republican 47%-40%. So while the Republicans are bombing the rubble with ads on broadcast and cable TV, the Republicans need to be using digital social media to tilt the turnout in favor of the anti-Obama voters.



The final polls are really all pointing to the same result. The side that wins the turnout war, wins. For the Republicans it’s clear. If those that disapprove the job the President is doing dominate the turnout in early voting and on election day, there will be an expanded House Republican majority and a new majority in the Senate.


Demographic Breakdown  10-15- 2014

















African American
















Over 65
















Methodology: This national survey of 1,020 likely 2014 general election voters was conducted from October 9th to 15th, 2014.  All interviews were conducted online; survey invitations were distributed randomly within predetermined geographic units. These units were structured to correlate with actual voter turnout in a nationwide general election. This poll of 1,020 likely general election voters has an accuracy of +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval.


To view the article at National Review Online please click here.

To view the .pdf version of the memo please click here.

To view the presentation associated with this article please click here.

To view the top-line results associated with this article please click here.

To view the cross-tabulation report associated with this article please click here.

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