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Diplomacy in Action

Latest Polling Results

FPC Briefing
John Zogby
Foreign Press
Washington, DC
November 2, 2010

Date: 11/02/2010 Location: Washington D.C. Description: John Zogby, pollster briefs on the ''Latest Polling Results'' at the Washington Foreign Press Center on November 2, 2010. - State Dept Image
5:30 P.M. EDT

MR. ZOGBY: Okay, thank you. This is number seven in terms of election night appearances, which is something because no one every invites me back. And so thank you very much for this honor.

The exit polls are just now coming out and they’re only giving us a flavor of what’s going on. What I can tell you is that there are no surprises. So let’s just take a look at some of the numbers and the issues. No surprise 62 percent of those who voted today say that the nation is headed in the wrong direction, or off on the wrong track is the way that we normally phrase it. Frankly, that number is within 1 percent or 2 percent of all the pre-election numbers, including my own.

Secondly, in terms of the stimulus package, the vaunted stimulus package, interestingly, it’s a third, a third, a third. About one third said that it helped the economy, about one third – in fact, I think frankly 34 percent said that it hurt the economy, and then another third, to be exact, said that it made no difference at all. You can interpret that as two out of three saying it either hurt or didn’t make any difference.

And I think when you look at that, that 65 percent or 67 percent who say the stimulus either hurt or did not help, and put that alongside the 62 percent who say the country is headed in the wrong direction, then what you have is a clear message.

In terms of broad sweep, this is looking, of course, to be a very good Republican day. There’s no surprise there. Where we stand right now is that if you take a look at the seats that are safe Republican seats plus those that are heavily favored Republican and then those who are lean/leaning Republican, Republicans right now look to be at 224 seats. As you may know, it’s 218 for a majority.

What that means at 224 is that already we are looking at a 44-seat pickup. That’s already. Now, this is on the basis of our observations of the polls in the House that are outside the margin of error or close to outside the margin of error. Now, there are still 44 seats that re toss-ups. From there, the question is how many of those seats will Republicans win, and the honest answer is we don’t know. What we do know, however, is that they’ve already picked up 46 seats, already meaning it’s very likely that they’ve already picked up 46 seats. So from there I wouldn't even venture a guess. What are the variables? Obviously, turnout. And you have mixed reports today. I’ve learned over the many years that I’ve been doing this to treat those reports about turnout in various precincts and observations as urban legends. People oftentimes see what they want to see, and now, of course, they blog what they want to blog about seeing what they want to see. So I distrust them.

If there is a high voter turnout in urban areas, some media are reporting that – I don’t know the evidence however – but if there is a high turnout in urban areas, that could mean higher than normal turnouts among African Americans, Latinos, Democratic constituencies – all honestly, we really don’t know about that.

On the Senate side, right now it is, if you count the two Independent senators, Joe Lieberman and Sanders from Vermont who caucus with the Democrats, it’s a 60 to 40, Democrat to Republican, breakdown. There are many Senate seats that are too close to call, but right now if we add to the 40 that the Republicans will win if they have already or that will win, add – these are the following pickups that we’re pretty sure of – North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana – not as certain but quite possibly, in fact probably, Wisconsin – that’s four right there. That’s 44. Now, of the remaining six seats that are too close to call – actually, seven seats – Pennsylvania, Republican leads anywhere from 2 to 4 points. That would be Pat Toomey over Sestak.

Nevada – I just returned from Nevada and I witnessed, if I can use a metaphor, if you think that political commercials anywhere else have hit rock bottom, they were standing in Nevada with jackhammers saying we can go lower, we can go lower. It was awful. I turned the television off. Too close to call. The Republican, however, does lead, Sharon Angle. But this is a question of can someone who has been a leader of his party and in Congress for 24 years get a vote out in Democratic-rich Las Vegas where 68 percent of the voters live, then Harry Reid could conceivably win.

Illinois – Illinois has been such a dirty and nasty race between Kirk and Giannoulias that you have a much, much higher undecided there than anywhere else. And at the last minute if you have a large number of undecideds, you can be certain that a lot of them are not going to vote, that in fact they already made up their minds that both gentlemen are correct that the other guy is terrible. And so in that instance, again, Kirk leads by 2 points, but watch Chicago. The President has visited his hometown, the First Lady was just there, and Chicago has a very interesting history of having voters materialize on Election Day – as does Philadelphia.

So let’s look at Pennsylvania. That has been Pat Toomey against Joe Sestak. Now, interestingly, a week ago after months of the Republican leading the Democratic, of Toomey leading Sestak, that race tightened up and was tied, and now it’s swinging back in the direction of the Republican.

The really interesting thing about Pennsylvania is that I call it the land of conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. And ironically, you have a very conservative Republican and a very conservative – or very liberal Democrat running. So they’re both anomalies for their parties. But again, we have to look at turnout and we have to look at the city of Philadelphia, high minority population, and in the past Republicans can go into Election Day in Pennsylvania with a slight lead and watch that change as Governor Ed Rendell and Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia have certain magic about them to get the vote out. So we’re going to call Pennsylvania too close to call.

I am going to call Colorado too close to call as well. Ken Buck against the incumbent Michael Bennett. I’m making it too close to call because Ken Buck was leading by as much as 10 or 11 points months ago, it tightened up to a point where there were a few polls last week, 10 days ago, showing the Democrat leading by a point or two – Michael Bennett. Right now, we have Ken Buck leading. One poll out today has him leading by 4, however, the average is about 2. So too close.

State of Washington – this is a very easy one to call. It’s a tie, Patty Murray versus Dino Rossi. It is tied to the tenth of a percent. Rossi was leading, Patty Murray was leading. Through most of the last few months, Patty Murray was leading but not at 50 percent, but it is very much tied, which is interesting because just two years ago, Dino Rossi missed becoming governor of Washington by 27 votes, 41 votes, 110 votes – whoever knows when you’re counting votes. But whatever it was, it was very, very close.

California – Barbara Boxer was supposed to be finished in her political career, especially when the Republicans nominated one of the best-known names in the world of business, Carly Fiorina. That has been a tough battle. In California, it’s all about television. It’s much too large and has 11 major television media markets. The two have been beating each other up now for months. Barbara Boxer has maintained a lead. One poll out in the last few days suggested Carly Fiorina up by 1 point, much too close to call. Generally, California has been put in the Democratic column.

Now the race to watch. And I tell you this because the polls close in an hour and 41 minutes in West Virginia, and that is between John Raese and John Manchin – Joe Manchin, I’m sorry. Manchin is a very popular Democratic governor. In fact, had he run for reelection, hero of previous mining incidents, he probably would have won hands down. But West Virginia is also a state where Barack Obama is extremely unpopular and where Republicans are in the ascendancy and where even two of the three usually automatically reelected congressmen, Democratic congressmen for Virginia, are fighting for their political lives.

I’m watching more than anything else West Virginia for this reason: Joe Manchin leads. The lead has gone back and forth. He leads by 4 on average. But at 7:30 or 7:35 we’ll be able to see if it’s tighter than 4 points or if John Raese is leading; that means that Republicans have gotten their vote out and it’s bigger than West Virginia. It means then that this could be a sweep.

So – oh, Alaska. It’s all about Alaska now. This one – it’s everything boils down to Alaska. It is the most important state in the U.S. today. You have a three-way race and a three-way tight race. And as you know, Joe Miller, the Tea Party candidate, won a surprising primary result over the establishment political family, one of the establishment political families, Lisa Murkowski, in Alaska. She decided, as you know, to run as a write-in in the general election. Polls have shown her leading. The most recent poll shows her down. It shows that Miller is at 37 but a flawed candidate, Murkowski is at 30, and now McAdams, who is the Democrat, has come from nowhere and he is at 30. What are the scenarios here? And it’s an important scenario because this could hinge on whether the Republicans take over or not.

Joe Miller now leading, but he’s been flawed there. He has been charged with ethical, even criminal violations, and also had a reporter arrested, or at least his private security had a reporter arrested, which, if you want good publicity, it’s not good to be a part of having a reporter arrested.

Secondly, Lisa Murkowski – her problem, of course, is that she is the establishment in a non-establishment year, but voters who select her – they may say it over the telephone, but they have to write her name in. And the ways these laws work, they have to spell it correctly. If it’s spelled incorrectly, if it’s close in any way, if she wins, we’re looking at a court battle. And as you know, court battles do not take hours or days.

Meanwhile, as the two of those candidates really beat each other up, McAdams just slowly plods along at 30 percent and could, let’s just say, conceivably win. Conceivably, that’s all. If he wins, it is so against the grain of what may be happening in the rest of the country. It would be a Democratic victory at a time when Republicans are looking to – they weren’t counting on losing Alaska. So put that down, then, as another “I don’t know.”

If I may, can I just make a few more comments? How much time do we have?

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

MR. ZOGBY: Thirty-nine percent of voters told us this is the angriest they have ever been before at government. Another 23 percent told us this is the most disappointed that they’ve ever been before. That adds up to 62 percent. We kind of keep coming back to that 62 percent, don’t we? That means clearly, among so many other things, change is in the air.

Now, your first question from all of you is going to be, “Well, what happened,” right? You can put that away and go to your second question. What happened? 2008, voters voted for change, they gave Barack Obama actually the largest margin of victory of any presidential candidate since 1988, and only the second time since then that a candidate won a majority of votes.

In 2008, voters in the United States wanted three things. The first was change. The problem is there was no agreement on the path to change. When you got into the specific issues – the budget, taxes, the environment, Social Security, the economy – there were even splits between a more Democratic or a slightly liberal program versus a more Republican and conservative program.

So it was going to be up to the next president to define that change, and under normal circumstances in an important transformational election as 2008 was, a president does that. That’s what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1932 where the New Coalition built his New Deal. That’s what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, same thing – a new coalition – Reagan Democrats, they called them – and changed the path of the country. This was a transformational election in 2008 and it was based similarly to the other two presidents on a new coalition – young people voting in record numbers.

Hispanics, who had only been just two decades ago 4 percent of the total vote, were almost 9.5 percent of the total vote in 2008; African Americans added a whole point and a half to their total, a lot more African Americans voting; and then suburban employees and leaders of the new economy. That was the governing coalition that Obama came in with.

His problem was the other two pieces that voters were expecting. They wanted problem solving and consensus building. And Barack Obama walked into the meat grinder that is Washington, D.C., where Washington, D.C. only knows not how to conciliate these days; it only knows how to confront. It is hyper-polarized. And from there, I don’t have to relate the history. The stimulus was, in fact, seen as a partisan program, healthcare seen as a partisan program. More than anything else, while the President has accomplished legislation, the legislation is not seen as problem solving. And I think that’s the important thing to understand. The voters who are angry are saying, “We’re seeing trillions of dollars being spent. We will accept -- ” solid majorities say, “We will accept trillions of dollars being spent, but where are the jobs and where is the progress?” And so essentially, that’s wherein a lot of the anger comes. High expectations for this President, expectations really that no one could have achieved.

In the final analysis, voters are not necessarily totally repudiating the President. In fact, let’s understand that today’s exit polls already give majority negative ratings to both political parties. We need to understand that. There are no heroes and there is no love as far as voters are concerned. Frustration with the Democrats spelled victory for Republicans, but not love.

How’s that?

MODERATOR: Questions?



QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much, Mr. Zogby. Ben Bangoura with Storylines Africa. From what you’re saying, from what you just said about the (inaudible) and moving forward, what this Administration need to do in order to recapitulate the electorate being lost?

MR. ZOGBY: Okay. This is a longer answer, so bear with me, okay? Because I think it’s going to cover a lot of ground here. But essentially, for the two winners – or for the two political parties, I should say – their first battle is to define the heart and soul of their party. For Republicans, is it the establishment inside the beltway Republican Party, or is it the Tea Party? And they’ve got to decide that. The establishment party might very well say, “We have to run for reelection in two years and we’d better get something done.” I think that’s what voters say. But across the table are going to be members – new members from their own party who are not in a mood to compromise, not in a mood to negotiate, even with members of their own party. So that’s battle number one.

Battle number two is among the Democrats. “Who are we? Are we the liberals, very liberal voters and members of Congress who feel the President didn’t go far enough, that more needs to be spent on stimulus? Or are we the moderate to even whatever conservative Democrats may be left after today who say, ‘We ought to slow things down and regroup?’” So both parties in the middle of this crisis now have to, first and foremost, try to come to grips with who they are themselves.

In that context, there is one person who can emerge from this as a hero, and that’s the one guy still who has been elected by the entire nation. If I were Barack Obama, what I would do as early as tomorrow is say, “I heard you, voters. You have rejected elements of what I have done. I am extending an olive branch to the Republican Party. I’m going to call a summit. I want the Republican leadership and the Democratic leadership – let’s meet in the peace and quiet of Camp David and let’s lay out an agenda. This is what we call the high road. If Republicans accept the high road, they may accept the past that enables the establishment wing to go to the voters in 2012 and say this is what we’ve done; meanwhile, you seem to like having a president and a Congress from two different parties. That is the Bill Clinton model, minus impeachment. Okay?

QUESTION: No, but minus economy.

MR. ZOGBY: Minus the economy, of course. But ultimately voters are expecting something to be done. They want problem solving. If the Republicans reject that appeal, that enables President Obama even more. It allows him the opportunity then over the next two years to run – it’s a lot easier to run against a “do nothing” Congress that is of the opposition than to run against a “do nothing” Congress that is controlled by your own party.

MODERATOR: Next question.

MR. ZOGBY: And I’ll address that, too, shortly on the economy.

QUESTION: I’m Lorraine Millot from the French daily Liberation. From your post today, do you have information of who are the voters who left – voted for President Obama in 2008 and left the Democrats today?

MR. ZOGBY: That – good question and the honest answer is that that exit poll data is not available. I can only offer you conjecture. And that is that for starters, there was the enthusiasm gap among Democrats, so it is then Hispanics and African Americans and young people who simply did not vote. Because frankly, we didn’t see – we barely saw any movement among those groups. We just – from Democrats and Republicans, what we simply saw was that they weren’t going to vote more than likely. It was Independents, though, and I’m sure the exit polls are going to show it because all of my and other pre-election polls showed that this election ultimately tipped because of Independents.

Now let’s understand who Independents are. Half of Independents are moderates and, frankly, Democrats do not do badly among moderates. But among the other half of Independents are – it tips about 2 to 1 Republican-leaning or conservative Independents, many of whom abandoned the party because of George W. Bush for a variety of reasons, some of it was the Patriot Act, some of it was taxes – or the budget deficits and spending and so on. What happened is it was clearly enough to energize those conservative-leaning Independents and some moderate-leaning Independents to give a big advantage among Independents, and that’s ultimately what won. Meanwhile, Democrats are supporting Democrats and Republicans supporting Republicans. Just fewer Democrats.


QUESTION: Thank you. Sonia Schott with Globovision, Venezuela. Everybody’s talking about depolarization. How do you think President Obama can move forward with his agenda in these two years considering that currently the House of Representatives will be in the hands of the Republicans, so there will be more polarization?

MR. ZOGBY: I think while – and this is to expand a little bit on the previous question, that while he must offer the olive branch to the Republicans, and in many ways put the burden on the Republicans to respond one way or another, which will – we’ll get a signal as to then who the Republican Party is and what they see coming from them the next two years. Meanwhile, the President has got to heel to his own party.

He’s got to do two things. First of all, he has to sit down with the Democrats and say, “Okay, some of you didn’t support me the first time around. How do we develop a united agenda that appeals both to liberals and to moderates in the party, and then we have a united front with an olive branch to Republicans.” Meanwhile, what he also has to do is he has to give compelling reason to young people – that is so critical – Hispanics, and to African Americans. Find the guy that you elected in 2008. I understand that.

Now what does that mean? Well, first of all, it’s got to be in terms of a vision, a common vision among Democrats. That’s going to be a battle. That’s not going to happen in the next couple of days. Secondly, it has to be in terms of Bill Clintonesque and Ronald Reaganesque persona. What – in many regards, if you know the story of The Wizard of Oz, there are some who will say that this Democrat in the presidency today is the Tin Man – he’s all brains and no heart. He’s got to show heart. Bill Clinton was a master at that; Ronald Reagan was also quite good at that. And then thirdly, jobs, jobs, and jobs.

Now if you can’t get stimulus passed, more stimulus, and you probably won’t, what you have to do is go back to the original stimulus and say where are those projects, where’s that money that actually puts people to work. Here’s the emergency, we’ve got to spend it. And that’s where the pressure has got to come from Democratic mayors, from all mayors, from governors. You appropriated that money. We need that money in shovel-ready projects. That’s a start.

I’m not running for anything incidently. (Laughter.) Yes, I know she has a question out there.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Andrei Sitov. I’m with TASS, the Russian news agency. I want to ask about the Tea Party. Did I hear you correctly that Rand Paul basically won in Arkansas?

MR. ZOGBY: I didn’t say it, but by all indications it looks like he’s doing very well. The polls were heading in his direction.

QUESTION: The overall question is: Do you know what proportion of the Republicans running the Tea Party’s make-up and what – in your opinion, what it means for the next cycle of elections?

MR. ZOGBY: Well, 27 to 32 percent of voters overall identify with the Tea Party, so that’s substantial. If you cut away – I guess we’ll have to do the math, we can get that number for you. But if you cut away just Republicans, it must be half the Republicans. Republicans will be about 37 to 38 percent. That would leave at about what – 19 or half of Republicans and then a portion of Independents, barely any, though, maybe a few Democrats.

Here’s the problem with the Tea Party as I see it. And forgive me for using a golf analogy. You may not know golf, but I’ll try to make it vivid to you. There’s a story that I’ve been telling about the gorilla that the great scientists of the world taught to play golf. And so after years, he stood up to the tee and he hit the ball 420 yards straight. And of course there’s the cup – the hole in golf. He was this far from the hole. And so he strutted down the fairway, got another club and hit the ball another 420 yards. I think what voters are looking for is the finesse to now hit the ball in the cup. I think the Tea Party has shown that it can hit the ball 400 yards. (Laughter.)

God, the golf thing works. Okay? (Laughter.) I was trying to think – all day I was thinking how do I turn it into soccer and it really just wasn’t the same.

QUESTION: My question was really about the new crop of the potential legislators. Do we know how many of the Republicans running make up the Tea Party?

MR. ZOGBY: Oh, that’s a good question. It’s better to count after it all comes in than to try to conjecture right now, because there are those who became candidates because of the Tea Party. There are those that the Tea Party adopted. And then there are those who sat down and did the calculations and said, “I’d better drink some tea right away.”

She has a question back here.

MODERATOR: Yeah, new question? Sorry.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Good evening, Mr. Zogby. My name is Dagmar Benesova, Slovakia World Business Press Online. My question is: Today you mentioned that 62 percent of voters think that the United States go the wrong direction. Which direction will the U.S. go after these midterm elections according to you? And will it have just an influence on domestic issues or also on international decisions? Thank you very much.

MR. ZOGBY: You look like such a nice person to ask me such a nasty, difficult question like that. I honestly don’t know what direction, because we will have divided government. With that said, the burden is on the President. And I think domestically the message will be: Slow it down; let’s see what is it that we’ve already done that we can salvage. I talked about the stimulus. What is left of the stimulus that has been earmarked to be spent? How can it then be spent to create jobs? In terms of healthcare, there will be a push to repeal healthcare. But some aspects of the healthcare reform have gone into effect. Others are scheduled to go into effect. There are now going to be over the next few months beneficiaries of that who are going to say, “No, let’s slow that down.”

In terms of government priorities, it will have to be jobs, jobs, and jobs. Whether that’s more stimulus or whether that’s in the form of tax cuts that enable investment. Let’s be honest about one thing and that is – and I wrote about this in my book two years ago – we are not spending the way we used to spend as a people. And we won’t be spending. This is a generational impact that has more to do with Americans rediscovering their own priorities than it has to do with this specific recession; although, this recession has certainly underscored that sensibility. And so clearly if people are not going to spend this economy back into health, where is that money going to come from? In the first couple of years, it had to come from the government. And I think, frankly, that many Republicans will say the same thing. But now it’s going to have to come from the private sector. What enables people to become entrepreneurs, to expand their businesses? And so this is where we’re looking at the proper balance now between new spending, priorities, but also between tax – involving proper kind of tax cuts that enable economic development.

Globally – this was a domestic election. It had little to do with foreign policy. Today’s exit poll indicated that the top issue for voters was the economy – 62 percent and another 19 percent said healthcare. The only foreign – and I saw these really quickly. The only foreign policy issue was Afghanistan at 7 percent. And so a president does get to define his own foreign policy and a change in any possible direction there, at least that’s voter driven, won’t come until 2012.

MODERATOR: Anybody now? Okay, right there.

MR. ZOGBY: Let’s do one, two, and then I know these two gentlemen would like to come back. I’m here. So –

QUESTION: Alf Ask from Aftenposten, Oslo. Does that mean that you’re – you just recently said that the fear of terror is away and that the American doesn’t feel terror anymore?

MR. ZOGBY: Oh, no, it doesn’t at all. It means that in terms of safety and security, the economy is crowding out the issues. And of course, why wouldn’t it? One out of three Americans that have health insurance through their employer are afraid of losing all or some of those benefits. Those are the sorts of things that, in the immediate, when people wake up in the morning and say, “Thank God I’m awake; I’m healthy; if I’m not healthy, I can pay for it; I can get the kids to school; I can buy them shoes,” and so on. Terrorism in that sense, when there is a specific calamity or event, obviously trumps. But it hasn’t dissipated. It’s just been pushed because of another concern.

QUESTION: Lorraine Millot, Liberation, France. How much was President Obama a negative figure in this campaign?

MR. ZOGBY: Well, he was a negative figure, certainly, to Republicans and to Independents at least as I described Independents. And that enabled Republicans to do well today. On the other hand, what’s interesting is that I have his job performance rating at 45percent. If you look at the compilation, the aggregation of polls, it’s at 45 percent. When – you consider two things: Ronald Reagan’s numbers were 41 percent in the 19 – going into the 1982 election where he lost, I believe – I recall 26 seats, and Bill Clinton’s were at 42 percent and he lost 54 seats. It’s understandable that the President would lose seats. It’s also understandable that he does have a base of support. Those are not horrible numbers.

The other thing to consider is that, in my polling anyway, we don’t just ask approve or disapprove. We ask strong approval, somewhat approve, and so on. When you start with the fact that this President has 43 percent of the voters who give him strong disapproval – translated, they hate his guts. Then when you look at 45 percent and say, “Well, that’s not so bad; that’s almost everybody else,” and the best he could do is 55. He’s got 45. And that’s not a pro-Obama statement. I’m just being objective there.

Here’s a new question. I will get to you.

QUESTION: My name is Josefina Ilustra from Malaya Philippine News Daily. How much of a factor were the left and right media in this election?

MR. ZOGBY: Only in terms of intensity, not in terms of changing minds. They preached to the choir. Now, let’s step aside and look at the numbers. Three and a half to three and three-quarter million Americans watch Bill O’Reilly at night – translated, about 302 to 304 million Americans do not watch Bill O’Reilly every night. Three hundred and six or seven million do not watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

So the thing is these are factors that preach to the choir, energize the base, but don’t necessarily appeal to Independents. People who are Independent of their nature are following it less, are sticking to their priorities, which is, as I mentioned, getting the kids to school on time and putting food on the table, and so on. Now, the way you reach them is that quick 30-second ad. It’s who most of us are. Most of us don’t have the time to sit through and read five newspapers and ten White Paper positions from either party. But all in all, I doubt that the polarized media had that kind of an impact changing people’s minds.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Ben Bantoura, Storylines Africa. Getting back to healthcare legislation, this – before election in 2008, this was a serious issue when the Congress passed quite a time on it to make it happen. But the blame is on healthcare, and many pundit people around the conflict, I believe, suggest that they were lost in the communication, even told there are a lot of good things you mentioned in this health legislation. What is your finding in that? I mean, what went wrong in terms of portraying this legislation as a test tool for addressing American health crisis?

MR. ZOGBY: Well, there are a number of things that went wrong. Let’s try to list them quickly. Number one, that there was a clear, defined opposition. Not one Republican supported it or gave an indication to support it; one Republican in the House, no one in the Senate. And so that leads to number two, that to the degree that there was debate, it was debate within the Democratic Party. Number three, is that you can make the case that the country’s priorities shifted. Healthcare was the top economic concern until the great recession. And then with the great recession it was jobs, jobs, and jobs. But this debate got bogged down in details over healthcare.

Number four, wherever we are, if you take a look at most of the elements of the healthcare package, a majority supports individual elements. When you call it “Obamacare,” a majority opposes it because the majority opposes Barack Obama. And so the Republicans did a very good job in terms of defining the core values of their base and conservative-leaning Independents: death panels, socialism, Obamacare.

Democrats are very good with charts. I’ve always said hearts beats charts all the time. I think Republicans captured the hearts. I also think, wherever we are five, six, or seven, that summers are cruel – particularly Augusts, are cruel to Democrats. And I guess no Democrat should ever go on vacation in August, because while – this is August of ’09, but August of 2010 wasn’t so good either. August of 2008, incidentally, was when Obama’s number started to go down. Then there was John Kerry and Michael Dukakis, and those are other stories in different eras. But the President disappeared. At a time when he allowed Republicans to focus on that short bumper sticker, he was away. And that was the time to win hearts and minds. So I think you add all of those up.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Andrei Sitov, Tass News Agency, Russia. Thank you. When you were asked about what the President will do next, I assumed you would automatically respond, “He will run to the center,” and you didn’t. Why didn’t you? And does he have an option not to run to the center?

MR. ZOGBY: Oh, okay. I thought maybe I said it, but I’ll be clearer. And these come under “shoulds,” not anything that I know specifically. He’s – he must extend an olive branch. He just – no matter which way you look at it, there’s repudiation today. So he must extend an olive branch. But at the same time – this is another way of answering your question; I’m just repeating it again – he’s got to find the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Is the Democratic Party going to be The Huffington Post and The Daily Kos that says, “You don’t do enough. You don’t do enough. You don’t do enough. You don’t do enough,”

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. ZOGBY: Yeah. Or is it going to be moderates? And in which case, then, they have got to together discover their path. I think what they learned today, I believe, unless I’m just totally wrong, is that Republicans knew how to get out their base and Democrats did not. This is not going to be easy for either party.

If I can, in kind of a closing statement, ultimately, this country is not ideological. This country is pragmatic. And what it told us as early as November 2006, when we asked, “What are you looking for in the next president?” they said, “We want a problem solver and a consensus builder.” Interestingly, the two political parties nominated the only two guys in each party that could honestly say, by vision and by demeanor and by books, Barack Obama, “I am a consensus builder”; John McCain, that was his history. The old John McCain of 2000 could have conceivably won this election because that’s where the voting center was. But I think that the President – and a lot can be said for electing someone with experience – I think the President walked into a meat grinder known as Washington, D.C., where things aren’t done that way.

Does that help? Okay.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

MR. ZOGBY: Thank you very much.