New Dem polling effort aims to sharpen message for midterms

New Dem polling effort aims to sharpen message for midterms
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A high-profile group of Democratic strategists and pollsters are launching a new effort to help their party sharpen their messaging against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE and Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms.
 
The new monthly polling project, named "Navigator Research," focused its first round of research on the economy, corruption and Trump. 
 
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Its findings — Democrats should be connecting voter angst about their economic future to a perception that the wealthy are benefitting more, playing up voter concerns about the Republican Party using legislation to enrich themselves and their donors, and attack Trump as reckless and abusing power. 
 
“There are lots of great polls that are out there that talk about what's going on today, but there’s a vacuum for the right language and the best way to talk about these things," said Jefrey Pollock, the president of Global Strategy Group, and a main partner in the new project. “In an environment when the narrative is as short as a tweet, you really have to get your words right.” 
 
Polling found that even as the economy appears to be improving, about two-thirds of respondents are concerned about those at the top receiving outsized benefits from those gains. The pollsters argue that instead of focusing on the current situation, Democrats should talk with voters about their plans to address future concerns about issues like affording retirement and health care. 
 
Voters' negative views of Congress as a whole contribute to concerns about corruption and politicians and both sides of the aisle looking to benefit their donors. But when the polling compares Democrats in Congress to Republicans, Republicans get worse marks on perception of corruption. 
 
Then there's Trump, who despite his national unpopularity has sometimes been a tough nut for Democrats to crack. The polling shows majorities finding a handful of controversial aspects about Trump — including his equivocating rhetoric about white supremacists after violence last year in Virginia and reports he referred to certain countries as "shitholes" — as "completely unacceptable." 
 
Navin Nayak, a top official at the Center for American Progress Action Fund who serves on the group's advisory board, argued that Democrats have an opportunity to connect these issues into a cogent message that will resonate with voters, instead of focusing on more surface issues like criticizing Trump as "lazy" or for playing golf too much. 
 
"This polling indicates there’s a broader narrative that progressive and Democratic candidates should be picking up about the culture of corruption that captures the news breaking on Trump that’s frustrating voters across the country, and can speak to the congressional agenda on health care and taxes," he said. 
 
The new endeavor includes a handful of top progressive communcations and polling professionals. Along with Pollock, Democratic strategists Margie Omero, Nick Gourevitch and Bryan Bennett round out the leads on the team. 
 
The group's advisory board include prominent Democrats like Center for the American Progress Action Fund's Nayak, AFL-CIO's Mike Podhorzer, EMILY's List's Christina Reynolds, former Obama administration aide Ron Klain, former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer Jesse Ferguson, Roosevelt Institute CEO Felicia Wong, The Hub Project's Andrea Purse and Arkadi Gerney, The National Working Families Party's Delvone Michael and veteran political strategist Stephanie Valencia.