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Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective


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Title: Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective

Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Presentation by Celinda Lake, President of Lake
Snell Perry Mermin Associates
Message Development
  • Advocates are highly informed about their issues
    and have many things they want to say. But
    trying to tell voters everything about the issue
    means they will remember nothing.
  • Voters think activists like to worry about
  • A powerful narrative is key. Facts and policies
    back up the narrative, but are not a message on
    their own.
  • When the facts dont fit the frame, voters reject
    the facts.

Message Framing in 2004 Presidential Election
  • Whoever sets the frame, wins. In the end, voters
    accepted Bushs frame that he would keep America
    safe, that shouldnt risk the countrys future on
    someone you cant trust, and Kerry flip-flops on
    important issues.
  • Repetition sets the frame. In the past several
    election cycles, Democrats have been unable to
    articulate a vision for what the party stands
    for. Instead, they have offered small
    programmatic fixes to large, complex problems,
    and critiques of President Bushs policies.
    Democrats often won the issues, but lost the

Republicans have been very effective at
communicating their values.
The best way to communicate values is to use
words and phrases that no Coke-drinking,
apple-pie eating American could disagree with.
Family. Freedom. Opportunity. Responsibility.
Community. These are true American values, and
they should be used as part of a larger personal
message. -Introduction to Frank Luntzs
playbook My opponent seems to appreciate
old-fashioned. I appreciate American values. -
Bush response to Kerrys Hollywood fundraiser
Talking to women
  • Men and women do not always see issues the same.
  • The security frame was powerful to women across
    the country.
  • Women think more locally and personally, less
  • The messenger helps set the frame.
  • The personal is political to women.

Lessons learned Framing issues to women in the
2004 election
  • To reach out to security moms and others, our
    frames needed to convey steadfastness and steady
    leadership, not just on security issues but
    across the board.
  • We need to frame the economy debate around
    kitchen table concerns, such as rising health
    care costs, affordable child care, and retirement
    security, which continue to be worries regardless
    of changes in national economic indicators.

Other framing lessons from 2004
  • Initiatives can help frame elections. Raising the
    minimum wage is a winning issue as well as highly
    effective mobilizing tool. It creates a powerful
    message frame we value hard work.
  • Moral values did not determine the election, but
    values matter. Progressives need to frame the
    values debate around voters longing for
    reconnection to community, some sanctuary from
    the crudity and greed in popular culture.
  • Real events set some frames that have to be
    answered before others will be considered.
  • Across policy realms, telling a personal story
    can be a powerful way to contextualize an issue,
    create empathy, and communicate facts without
    sounding wonky.

Framing issues The Optimist
Ø      While it is important to show an
awareness of the difficulties facing working
families, we need to be careful not to be overly
negative or to offer nothing more than a litany
of woes. In American politics, the optimist has
always won.   Ø     Americans are aware of the
challenges they face they are seeking from us
hope that things can get better. They often find
our dialogue focuses on problems, when they want
Framing issues New Frames
  • Presidents Bush vision of an ownership society
    offers progressives a chance to provide an
    alternate and equally broad vision for the future
    of America.
  • Mutual opportunity, responsibility, and
    shared security are promising frames in this

Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
The Minimum Wage Values Not Policy
Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona
voters broadly and intensely support a statewide
initiative to raise the minimum wage.
6.15/Hour 7.10/Hour
Asked of half the sample.
-LSPMA, Acorn/ AZ. AFL-CIO/ACT 500 likely Arizona
voters 3/05
This initiative would raise the minimum wage in
Arizona from 5.15 per hour to 6.15/7.10 per
hour and then index the minimum wage to inflation
every year. If the election were held today
would you vote YES or NO on this initiative to
raise the minimum wage in Arizona, or are you
Strongest Minimum Wage Themes
  • No one who works full-time should live in
  • Minimum wage workers make only 206 per week,
    many of them parents and adults trying to raise
    children and make ends meet.
  • Raising the minimum wage shows that we value hard
    work over welfare and will save taxpayers money.
  • Personal stories are a powerful way to
    contextualize this issue and relate it to values
    of hard work and family.
  • For base Democratic and Hispanic voters, a more
    populist theme juxtaposing the minimum wage with
    CEO salaries is also strong.

The frame of valuing hard work is common in the
top messages in favor of the minimum wage
initiative. The best single message emphasizes
choosing work over welfare.
  • Work over welfare
  • When the minimum wage is as low as it is now,
    some full-time minimum wage workers in Arizona
    make less money than they would on welfare.
    Raising the minimum wage sends the right message
    to people we value hard work. And when people
    choose work over welfare, they become productive
    members of society and Arizona taxpayers save
    money on social services.
  • Value work
  • The minimum wage is our way of saying that we
    value work, especially the tough jobs performed
    by hotel maids, childcare workers, and nursing
    home employees. We should make sure the workers
    who are the backbone of our economy receive fair
    paychecks that keep up with inflation and put
    them and their families above the poverty line.

-LSPMA, Acorn/ AZ. AFL-CIO/ACT 500 likely Arizona
voters 3/05
Telling a personal story is also effective.
  • Personal story
  • Jane and Robert both work long hours for minimum
    wage in Peoria. They struggle to pay their bills
    and spend time with their two young daughters.
    They often turn to a church food bank to help and
    their biggest nightmare came true last week when
    they couldnt pay their rent and were evicted
    from their home. No one who works hard and plays
    by the rules should have to live like this. Jane
    and Robert are not asking for handouts, just a
    decent wage for their hard work.

-LSPMA, Acorn/ AZ. AFL-CIO/ACT 500 likely Arizona
voters 3/05
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Child Care and Early EducationAttaching Your
Issue to a Broader Frame
A strong message links accessibility to
affordable quality child care to the economy- the
top concern for voters.
  • Studies have shown that absenteeism caused by
    poor quality childcare costs American businesses
    more than 3 billion a year. Many low-income
    families cannot find quality child care that
    they can possibly afford. Making more quality
    affordable child care available can help our
    economy by enabling people to stay off of
    welfare, be good employees, and work their way
    up the ladder.

The salience problem
Ø      Child care is not a top issue for voters.
  Ø     They do not particularly support
child care nor government
child care.

Another strong message highlights accessibility
along with the primary importance of parents as
  • Parents are the most important caregivers for
    children. And many are struggling to make ends
    meet and have enough time with their families.
    Many parents of young children make sacrifices
    so that one can stay at home, and sometimes
    grandparents try to fill in the gaps. But far
    too many working parents cannot find quality
    child care they can afford. The way to help
    parents do the right thing is by investing in
    early care and learning.

A strong testing message links quality child care
to improving K-12, another top concern for
  • One of the most effective ways to improve the
    K-12 public education system is to invest in
    good child care and early learning before
    children get to kindergarten. With too many
    children entering school unprepared, teachers
    are forced to spend more time helping these
    children, depriving the whole class of much
    needed instruction. Quality early care and
    education helps all children arrive to school
    ready to succeed and benefits all students.


Linking quality child care to quality caregivers
is also strong frame.
  • We found strong support in Washington state for
    the idea of child care workers joining together
    in an organization to improve their working
    conditions, improving the quality of care, and
    advocating for increased funding for child care.
  • This support remains solid when the organization
    is explicitly termed a union.
  • Voters strongly support improving the working
    conditions of child care workers, including
    giving them a voice at work, access to affordable
    health insurance, and increasing their wages and
  • In fact, the strongest message in support of
    increasing funding for early care and learning
    highlights the low wages and high turnover of

Women believe both early childhood education and
preschool education programs are important.
Preschool Education
Important for Single mothers, mothers with young
children, mothers with more than one child, under
age 30, strong Democrats, younger Democrats,
minorities, those with children or grandchildren
in preschool.
Early Childhood
How important do you think pre-school education
programs are in preparing children for
kindergarten extremely important, very
important, somewhat important, a little
important, or not important at all? How
important do you think early childhood education
programs are in preparing children for
kindergarten extremely important, very
important, somewhat important, a little
important, or not important at all?
Sample 761 women ages 18 or older nationwide
who identify themselves as infrequent voters.
Split sampled questions
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Re-branding Wal-Mart
Re-branding Wal-Mart
  • Wal-Mart has a broadly favorable image among
    consumers and union members, but that image can
    be undermined by providing information about
    Wal-Marts egregious workers rights violations.
    Union members tend to have heard that Wal-Mart is
  • The core of Wal-Marts positive image is low
    prices and convenience. Ninety percent of people
    plan to shop at Wal-Mart next year.
  • We can raise doubts about Wal-Marts image of
    being an American success story by showing how
    its profits are built on breaking the rules,
    which is considered unfair and un-American.
    Wal-Mart can do better.
  • The size and profitability of Wal-Mart is a key
    message component to show how it could easily
    afford to treat people more fairly.

Powerful Themes
  • Consumers respond strongly to personal stories
    that also highlight Wal-Marts poor record on
    wages and benefits, especially about restricted
    hours meant to prevent workers from receiving
    health care.
  • The lack of health care is a powerful theme
    because it is troublesome, believable, and
    relates to peoples lives.
  • We need to frame these issues as systematic and
    egregious Wal-Mart policies above and beyond
    other global companies. Despite being able to
    easily afford to be a better corporate citizen,
    Wal-Mart refuses to do so.

Top tier messages reflect a fairness and
accountability frame and convey that Wal-Mart as
a very big business that can do better.
Humanizing the issue by telling a personal story
is very convincing.
  • Mary Jackson is a divorced mother of two
    children, working at Wal-Mart, the only job
    available in her town. She works hard but
    Wal-Marts policy is to make sure she never
    becomes a full-time employee so they do not have
    to offer her health care. She worries about what
    will happen if one of her kids get sick. It is
    just wrong for a company as profitable as
    Wal-Mart to treat Mary and others so unfairly.
  • Wal-Mart is not just another big company it is
    the biggest private employer in the United
    States. They could afford to set high standards
    instead of low ones - - paying livable wages,
    providing affordable health care to employees and
    respecting workers rights, while still making a
    good profit. A better way is possible but only if
    we hold Wal-Mart accountable.
  • Wal-Mart can easily afford to be a better
    employer and corporate citizen. 5 of the 10
    richest people in the world are from Sam Waltons
    family and just 2 of their wealth could pay for
    health care coverage for all their employees. We
    need to demand that Wal-Mart do the right thing.

-LSPMA, AFL-CIO 1000 adults surveyed, 1/05
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Health Care An Example of Where Advocates Care
About One Thing (Access), Voters Another (Costs)
Framing the health care debate.
  • First and foremost, any health care reform
    proposal must be framed as an answer to the
    problem of rising health care costs. We need to
    position our opponents as blocking reform to
    protect their profits.
  •  Voters see a strong connection between the
    economy and health care concerns like rising
    costs and the uninsured as well as between jobs
    and health care. Good jobs to them implies jobs
    with decent benefits, including health care.
  • Our messaging must reiterate this link so that
    our opponents can be positioned as doing a bad
    job on pocketbook economic issues.

Rising health care costs are consistently voters
most pressing pocketbook concern.
Thinking specifically about the economy, what are
you personally worried about the most?
LSPMA,SEIU - 1,000 likely voters, Nov. 1-3, 2005,
Voters overwhelmingly agree that everyone has a
right to health care coverage, that government
should guarantee it, and companies should pay
their fair share.
Disagree Agree
Do you agree disagree with that statement? Is
that strongly or not so strongly?
Darker colorsstronger intensity. Asked of half
the sample
LSPMA,SEIU - 1,000 likely voters, Nov. 1-3, 2005,
Support for reform is vulnerable to anti-tax
  • These sentiments are strong and broad-based but
    vulnerable to anti-government and anti-tax
    arguments once the dialogue turns from ideals to
    solutions. Voters think that any health care
    reform will cause their taxes and health care
    costs to go up and could threaten small business.
  • Voters need to be shown that there is a way to
    reform health care and rein in health care costs
    that does not rely too much on government, raise
    their taxes and threaten jobs and the economy.
  • This is why framing our opponents as large,
    profitable corporations who refuse to pay their
    fair share and as large, profitable insurance,
    HMOs, and drug companies with unreasonably high
    profits and CEO compensation is critical.

On the side of small business.
  • Noting that Wal-Mart and other hugely profitable
    corporations do not provide coverage and even
    direct their uninsured employees to government
    programs as well as noting how small businesses
    struggle to compete against giants like Wal-Mart
    adds considerable weight to our arguments.
  • This framing serves to put us on the side of
    small business and can deflect some
    anti-government sentiment instead placing it
    toward Wal-Mart for sticking taxpayers and
    government with the costs of insuring their

Statistics that resonant.
  • Social math can be important for framing.
    Reminding voters in the health care debate that 8
    of 10 people without insurance are in families
    with at least one person working full time is
    very powerful.
  • For example, in the gun debate, saying that
    California has 6 times more gun dealers than
    McDonalds struck people.

Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
The Budget A Moral Document or a Spreadsheet
Framing the budget debate some frames are not
possible, some facts are not believed.
  • ü      While they do not blame the President
    personally for the deficit they want to hold him
    accountable and responsible. They blame 9/11 and
    the war instead. They believe, and our framing
    comes from this core feeling, that there is a
    wrong way and a right way to draft a budget and
    deal with the deficit.
  • ü      They do not believe the tax cuts are to
    blame for the deficit and we do not gain much
    traction with this frame. Voters are skeptical
    that they received the tax cut and if they did
    their portion was too small to have too much of
    an impact on the deficit. They also believe the
    wealthy never pay their taxes.
  • Voters believe we have always had

Lake Snell Perry Mermin Associates conducted
five focus groups among the attentive public in
Ohio (February 10, 2005) and Oregon (February 15,
2005). In Columbus, OH we spoke with African
American men and women, blue-collar white woman,
and white senior men and women. In Portland, OR
we conducted one group among college-educated men
and one group among college educated women.      
Careful use of language
  • ü  Voters have an expansive volunteer agenda for
    budget priorities. Children, the elderly, and
    veterans are groups they want to protect.
    Education and Medicare and Medicaid are programs
    they prioritize along with health care benefits
    for veterans.
  • Our strongest message against the
    Presidents budget is that we need to protect the
    vulnerable among us. We need to look out for the
    vulnerable and it is believable that this
    government has not and will not in the future.
    We should also avoid language about the poor
    and instead talk about the vulnerable.
  • ü      When we talk about services and helping
    the vulnerable we should use the elderly rather
    than seniors. Participants almost exclusively
    used elderly in the context vulnerable older
    people. Seniors now appears to mean a healthy
    retirement, relaxation, and few concerns.

Values and the budget
  • The critique of Bushs budget should not
    explicitly invoke values and morality-oriented
    language. However, evaluating Bushs budget and
    concluding that it reflects the wrong priorities,
    implicitly rejects the Presidents values. As
    progressives, we have work to do to find our
    voice on a values dialogue that persuades voters.
    The budget debate, however, is unlikely to be
    the best place to do that. Among swing voters,
    whom we can move to be active and oppose the
    budget, explicit values language turns-off and
    distracts more of them than it motivates.
  • I dont know if I would use the word values
    because values are subjective and thats how all
    of this stuff, you know the Evangelicals came out
    for 2004 because of their values and they moved
    this and I think these were issues and concerns
    for me in terms of terminology as opposed to
    values. African American, Columbus
  • I think they should keep the budget separate
    from values. White non-college women,

Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Values, Religion, and Moral Values
Religion and Faith
  • Progressives also need to find a way to talk
    about faith in a sincere and convincing way.
    Voters feel that the Democratic party is too
  • Voters in red states and blue states feel
    religion is important.
  • Nationwide, thirty-nine percent of voters
    consider themselves born-again or evangelical
    Christians. Eighty-nine percent believe in Jesus
    Christ. Seventy-five percent believe God
    performs miracles. Sixty-seven percent believe
    you must accept Christ as your savior to get into
    heaven and fifty-seven percent believe you must
    accept Christ as your savior or you will go to

Source 2004 National Exit Poll
The problem messages vs. value statements
  • While the election was not about moral values, we
    do need a more compelling values-based narrative.
    For far too long, progressives have ceded the
    values terrain to the right-wing. Its time to
    take it back.
  • My friends, we are constantly being told that
    America is deeply
    divided. But all Americans value freedom and
    faith and family.
  • -Bill Clinton at the 2004 Democratic Convention
  • People are focused on family values such as
    helping children and the difficulty in raising
    children in a culture of Hollywood values.
  • Progressives need to develop values-oriented
    language, not only on traditional issues such
    tolerance and equality, but also on values voters
    currently do not associate with us, such as
    family and personal responsibility.

The more often a voter goes to church, the more
likely to vote for Bush across the board.
2004 net vote -29 -17 -1
9 26
2000 net vote -27 -17 5
12 29
From 2000 2004 National Exit Poll
Bushs wide margin with white Evangelicals and
Born-Again Christians went a long way towards his
narrow victory in 2004.
White Evangelical/Born-Again vote from 2004 Exit
Progressives can and must speak to concerns about
  • A closer examination of voters issue concerns
    shows that moral values is an umbrella term
    that encompasses many issues relating to family
    and the overall culture, i.e. its not a synonym
    for abortion and gay marriage.
  • Specifically, voters indicated they had moral
    values reservations with Democrats regarding the
    raising of children amidst our Hollywood-dominated
  • Progressives and Democrats must also realize
    that, with the high prevalence of the Christian
    faith among the electorate, values-based language
    should not be something only Republicans do.

Reframing the Religious Right
  • In the late 1990s as the radical right grew in
    political strength, we found, in research
    conducted for the DNC and others, the arguments
    and language to define it. When we began our
    work, the term religious right was commonly
    used to describe this movement.
  • Our research showed that this language sent
    positive signals to voters, implying that the
    movement was both religious and right (meaning
    correct). Radical right, in contrast, had
    negative connotations. We developed a press
    campaign that changed the language, and after one
    year there were several thousand mentions of the
    term radical right.

When Americans are asked how they personally
define values, the top two qualities they select
are opportunity and compassion, followed by
personal responsibility, and tolerance.
Personal Definition of Values
A Major Part A
Secondary Part
Ensuring that everyone is given an equal
opportunity in life, regardless of their race or
gender Being compassionate and helping those who
are less fortunate Rewarding individual
initiative and personal responsibility Having
tolerance for those who have different values,
backgrounds, and lifestyles Strengthening the
traditional family by promoting marriage Being
religious and making faith a part of your
everyday life Raising standards of public decency
in television, movies, and video games Promoting
individuality and encouraging self-expression
NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll December 9-13,
2004 1,003 adults
Americans see the Democratic party as the party
of equal opportunity and tolerance.
Values Americans Associate With The Democratic
NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll December 9-13,
2004 1,003 adults
Americans see the Republican party as the party
of families, faith, and personal responsibility.
Values Americans Associate With The Republican
NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll December 9-13,
2004 1,003 adults
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Security Moms An Example of Missing the Frame
Republicans have done a better job of speaking to
married womens intense national security
  • Gallup polling two weeks before the election
    found 44 of men compared to 75 of women worried
    that someone in their family would be a victim of
  • Married women express specific concerns about
    terrorism and national security in a way
    different from other groups of voters.
  • Republicans enjoy an issue advantage on security
    over Democrats by a troublingly high margin.

Would you say you are more worried now about
national security than you were before 9/11?
Mothers are clearly more worried about national
security since 9/11 than men and women without
Percent who said yes
Time/CNN poll May 21st-22nd, 2003 MOE /-3.1
Unmarried women gave a 17-point advantage to
Kerry, while married women gave Bush a 6-point
Source Battleground Survey, October 3-7, 2004
The deciding issue for Independent women and
Republican women was not moral values, but
Democratic women Jobs and the economy
38 Health care and prescription drugs 14 Iraq
11 Social Security and Medicaid 7 Homeland
Security and Terrorism 6 Moral values 3
Independent women Homeland Security and
Terrorism 27 Jobs and the economy 20 Iraq
17 Health care and prescription drugs
11 Moral values 11 Social Security and
Medicaid 8
Republican women Homeland Security and
Terrorism 24 Moral values 15 Jobs and the
economy 13 Iraq 8 Health care and
prescription drugs 6 Social Security and
Medicaid 3
LSPA Omnibus Poll 2004
Swing women voters had serious concerns about the
Democrats uncertainty compared to Republicans
It is terror it is safety. I mean if the whole
world gets blown up then it doesnt matter what
the economy does or whether we have a job. But
so what is more important? (College-educated
20-55 year old woman in Pittsburgh)
A woman in Columbus voiced this concern, My mom
was a huge Kerry fan and we argued so many times
about this whole thing. And I said it is either
going to be on our soil or its going to be on
theirs. Where would you want it to be, mom? Its
going to happen. 
A blue collar woman in Columbus remembered, That
Bush was going to stand up there and he was
going to get them and he was going to protect us
and protect our freedom. He just took that stand
right away and I mean he was right up front about
it. He wasnt going to mess around.
LSPA conducted focus group research for the DNC
among white, working, married women who voted for
George W. Bush in 2004, but either considered
voting for John Kerry or voted for Al Gore in
2000. Two focus groups were held in Pittsburgh,
PA on Nov. 21, 2004 and two in Columbus, OH on
Nov. 22, 2004.
Message Framing in a Broader Policy
Context-National Security
  • Progressives cannot ignore national security.
    Voters are unaware of how Democrats and
    progressives would keep America safe. Terrorism
    and national security were the main reason voters
    kept Bush in office.
  • Bush made gains among security moms. We lost
    married women by 55 to 44. In 2000, Gore got
    48 and Bush won 49. Clinton won married women
    in 1996 and 1992. In 1996, he carried them 48
    to 43 and in 1992, he split them 41 to 40.
  • Bush shifted the frame from homeland security to
    national security. What is the progressive frame
    as an alternative?

Source 2004 National Post-Election Survey,
2000, 1996, 1992 National Exit Polls
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Social Security Winning Issues Need to Translate
to Winning Frames
Voters prefer a progressive model of mutual
opportunity to Bushs ownership society.
Which statement comes closer to your point of
view? 41 ownership society/52 mutual opportunity
Text from LSPMA survey of 800 registered voter,
Mutual opportunity appeals to voters values and
speaks to their concerns about greed and
(Ownership society) is those who have, those who
make, those who have what they have. And the guy
on the bottom, sorry Bud, you fell on the bottom
rung of the ladder, thats what you got.
(Pittsburgh man) (In mutual opportunity society)
were all working towards this common thing.
Everyone pays, everyone receives.(Pittsburgh
LSPA conducted five focus group research for the
ITC among non-senior men in Pittsburgh on Jan.
20, 2005. All participants were registered,
likely voters who were not strong partisans.
A shared security frame is also an appealing
counter to the ownership society.
Shared Security
  • Some people say that in a global economy, America
    must expand shared security, not increase
    individual risk. We need to insure that every
    family has access to affordable healthcare, a
    good education, and a secure retirement. They
    say that the problem with an ownership society is
    that you will be draining funds vital for these
    basics, spending public tax dollars on private
    school vouchers, cutting guaranteed Social
    Security benefits to pay for private accounts,
    weakening Medicare to pay for health savings
    accounts only the affluent can afford.

This frame speaks to voters longing for a renewed
sense of community.
  • Everybody watch everybodys back. So its like,
    a shared type of environment where this neighbor
    will watch my property and let me know if
    something happens to my property. I do the same
    for them. Its probably like kids, going to
    school, everybody will take care of each other.
    (African American man, Cleveland)
  • I dont mean living in a gated community, I mean
    knowing your neighbors and helping your
    neighbors. (College-educated woman, Tampa)
  • Its not like youre out there on your own.
    Theres a sense of community to that in my
    opinion. (Non-college woman, Tampa)

LSPA conducted five focus group research in
Tampa and Cleveland in March 2005. The groups of
white voters consisted of voters who identify
themselves as independent and the group of
African-American voters identify themselves as
weak Democrats.
This can be a frame of where we should be headed
as a country even if we recognize the trends are
headed in another direction.
  • You know, I dont know about anybody here whos
    older than I am, but thats the way that its
    been all my life. Its been an ownership society,
    with each generation, its become more of an
    ownership society. Its more of your
    responsibility to provide for more of your own.
    (African-American woman, Cleveland)
  • I think the shared security that is described is
    more what we aspire to. (Blue-collar man,
  • Its the ideal rather than what we have.
    (Blue-collar man, Cleveland)

LSPA conducted five focus group research in
Tampa and Cleveland in March 2005. The groups of
white voters consisted of voters who identify
themselves as independent and the group of
African-American voters identify themselves as
weak Democrats.
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Immigration Framing Unpopular Issues
Thinking about legal immigration, should the
number of immigrants allowed into the US each
year be kept at its current level, increased,
decreased, or stopped altogether?
When immigration is framed as a for/against
issue, Americans are divided.
NIF/AILA/Tarrance, 1000 likely voters, 3/05
However, Americans broadly share common goals and
values on immigration.
Net 86 83 72
NIF/AILA/Tarrance, 1000 likely voters, 3/05
The traditional approach said immigrants are good
for you that failed. The successful frame said
immigrants are like you.
  • A breadth of research with voters has shown us
    that we should create empathy for immigrants as
    like us rather than sympathy for immigrants as
  • An effective message frame shows the similarities
    of new Americans to Americans already living here
    and our shared dreams and values we all work
    hard and want a better life for our children.
  • It is important to engage an image of immigrants
    as hard-working, paying taxes, and wanting to
    learn English and become citizens.

National Immigration Forum, January-February 2004
Everyone in America deserves to be treated
  • Voters are very unclear about the process of
    citizenship and are resentful of those they
    perceive as not even trying to become a citizen.
    Therefore, it is very important to tell
    individual stories of immigrants to U.S.-born
    voters to dramatize the real issues in
    immigration policy and immigrants who tried to
    follow the rules but are instead harmed by
    bureaucratic delays or misguided policies.
  • Many voters are feeling economically squeezed and
    are resentful of perceived preferential treatment
    for immigrants, many of whom they perceive as
    lawbreakers. Effective messaging highlights that
    immigration policy must be fair to citizens and
    immigrants alike.
  • Economic security also creates sensitivity to
    perceived cultural threats. Effective messaging
    addresses these concerns, particularly about
    learning English.

National Immigration Forum, January-February 2004
Voters are supportive of reform that is
consistent with their beliefs and sensitive to
their concerns.
  • Now, thinking about this entire bipartisan
    proposal, which would contain all of these items,
  • Require undocumented workers living in the US to
    come forward register as temporary guest
  • Provide temporary work visas for seasonal
    temporary workers not currently in the country
  • Provide these newly registered workers with a
    multi-year process for legal residency eventual
  • Provide these workers with NO preferential
    treatment for citizenship over legal immigrants
  • Provide tougher penalties for workers or
    employers who violate these laws
  • Put a priority on reuniting close family members

NIF/AILA/Tarrance, 1000 likely voters, 3/05
Three-quarters of voters support such a proposal
that combines toughness, fairness, a guest worker
program, family reunification, and a path to
legal residency for undocumented immigrants who
are already here.
Net favor minus oppose 53
Based on this description, would you favor or
oppose this proposal?
Darker colors signify intensity
NIF/AILA/Tarrance, 1000 likely voters, 3/05
The strongest messages reflect these values and
beliefs creating a controlled system that deals
with reality, with reasonable rules that treats
everyone fairly, is consistent with basic
American values and rewards hard work, paying
taxes, and learning English.
Our immigration system should fulfill the
promise of liberty and opportunity that America
represents. Immigrants come here for the
opportunity to build a better life and in return
they build strong families, serve loyally in the
military, and strive to succeed. We need a
system with rules applied fairly that rewards
hard-working immigrants, who are learning
English and paying taxes, with paths to
citizenship. And we need a secure and controlled
system that will keep the promise of safety and
security for everyone living in America. We
are not going to stop the flow of immigration. We
need to create an immigration system with fair
and reasonable rules that work for everyone--
both American citizens and future citizens. Our
policies should create controlled paths to legal
citizenship status with reasonable rules like
learning English and paying taxes, so that we
know who is here and can ensure that immigrants
and current citizens are treated fairly.
NIF/AILA/Tarrance, 1000 likely voters, 3/05
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Abortion Another Tough Issue
A values frame for choice
  • It is essential for choice-related issues to be
    communicated through a values-oriented frame.
  • This values frame highlights prevention, informed
    decision-making, family responsibility and
    personal responsibility.

The strongest pro-choice themes highlight
personal values, privacy, and responsibility.
  • Decisions should be made by women, their
    families, their doctors and their God. Planned
    Parenthood is a trusted protector of privacy and
    personal decision-making. Planned Parenthood
    believes that decisions about childbearing should
    be made by women, their families, their doctors,
    and their God, not government or politicians.
    Government and politicians should not intrude on
    difficult, private, moral, and medical decisions,
    such as abortion, or when or how many children
    women choose to have.
  • Planned Parenthood provides the full range of
    services and prevent the need for abortion.
    Planned Parenthood works to provide the full
    range of health care services to women and
    families. They provide cancer screening services
    and screening for sexually transmitted diseases,
    as well as providing contraception, information,
    and the full range of options, including adoption
    referrals and services. Ninety percent of their
    services prevent the need for abortions. We need
    Planned Parenthood to continue the important
    service it provides of promoting responsibility
    and prevention.

Framing a tough issue parental notification
  • Parental notification is a tough issue even
    among pro-choice audiences. Its power is based on
    being about parenting in todays society, not
    choice. It activates very personal feelings
    including fear of loss of control and the
    difficulty of being a good parent in todays
  • The most effective anti-notification messages
    focus on government intrusion into personal
    family situations, safety concerns for teens, the
    impracticality of making teens take their cases
    before a judge, prevention, and government
    mandating family communication.
  • We need to find ways in this debate to position
    ourselves as good parents acting against
  • We can use the choice frame, but we need to come
    to that through the parenting lens. It does not
    work to start out this debate from a traditional
    womens choice/rights perspective.

PPAC qualitative research in 2004 and 2005
Dial group research pointed to some particularly
effective language for framing this issue.
  • If my daughter couldnt come to me, regardless
    of the reason, more than anything I would want
    her to be safe. Its more important that my
    daughter be safe than the government forcing her
    to tell me.
  • I don't care how many laws you pass. You can't
    force every family to communicate. Or every
    family to act the same way.
  • A teenage girl is not going to be marching up
    to a judge. That's the real world out there. And
    even if she did go to court, do we really want a
    judge making a life decision for her. She doesnt
    need a judge. She needs a counselor.
  • Teen pregnancies have declined in California
    over the last 10 years without government
    mandates like this.
  • The way to do that is to focus our energies on
    sex education, counseling, and birth control.
  • Worse, a constitutional amendment is a drastic
    approach. We are locking in a state-wide,
    one-size-fits-all mandate. That really troubles

PPAC qualitative research in 2004 and 2005
Values and Framing from a Pollster's Perspective
Flipping Their Frames
Examples of flipping their frames to our
  • The Contract with America appealed to voters. We
    cautioned them to read the fine print.
  • Candidate Spence Abraham said I am a workhorse
    for Michigan. We said, Yes, but who is he
    working for?
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