Newspaper article Roll Call

Three Takeaways from the RNC's Autopsy Report for 2014

Newspaper article Roll Call

Three Takeaways from the RNC's Autopsy Report for 2014

Article excerpt

The Republican National Committee rolled out a massive post-2012- elections report Monday that focused on crafting what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called a "fresh beginning" for a party that was on the losing end of a number of electoral contests last cycle.

"We know we have problems," Priebus said to a packed ballroom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "We've identified them, and we're implementing the solutions to fix them."

The report's recommendations were mostly broad in nature -- better messaging, more openness to those with differing views, earlier outreach and engagement to minority groups, a stronger data infrastructure and a more robust get-out-the-vote operation.

Many of the recommendations focused on national campaigns, for example condensing the presidential primary calendar and controlling the debate schedule. But there were specific recommendations that are likely to have a more immediate effect on 2014:

1. Polling

For many GOP campaigns in 2012, polling proved to be an Achilles' heel, with late-cycle surveys not predictive of Nov. 6 results. The RNC report, authored by five GOP insiders, focused on a number of concerns GOP pollsters expressed, from turnout modeling to increasing Hispanic and youth respondents to figuring out how to contact more voters via cellphones.

The report recommended a re-examination of the way 2012 pollsters examined who would and would not be a likely voter, so that future surveys do not screen out people who cast ballots on Election Day.

Another recommendation was that "all Republican surveys include no less than 25 percent cellphone subsample." Certain demographic groups are less likely to have landline phones, so calling more cellphones can result in a wider and more accurate sample.

The report also called for a "quarterly summit" of GOP pollsters by mid-April to discuss how to produce more accurate data. …

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