Category Archives: Mass Media

MRF Featured In George Will Column


Market Research Foundation (MRF) has received a nod from nationally syndicated columnist George Will.  In assessing the 2016 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize winner referenced our work in discussing Cruz’s efforts to “substantially reconfigure the electorate.”

“Cruz’s plan for winning the necessary 1,236 convention delegates is an extrapolation from his strategy for winning 270 electoral votes,” Will wrote in his latest column.

Part of Cruz’s reconfiguring and extrapolating?  Targeting nonvoting whites – especially those without college experience.  These are the Americans who sat on their hands in 2012, thus denying Mitt Romney the presidency.  They are also the ones warming to the ascendency of current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who is credited by Will with “energizing people whose alienation from politics has made them nonvoters.”

Should he become the GOP nominee, can Cruz successfully identify and turn out these alienated voters?  Or as Will puts it, can he “leaven the electorate with people who, disappointed by economic stagnation and discouraging cultural trends for which Republican nominees seemed to have no answers, have been dormant during recent cycles.”

That’s a good question – although as we have repeatedly noted, much fertile ground is to be gained via precisely such a strategy.

Citing MRF’s research, Will notes “whites without college experience include disproportionate numbers of nonvoters.”  He then delves into efforts by Cruz’s data scientists to locate these voters and prepare “a package of three- or four-issue appeals” aimed at moving them from dormant to the polls.

It’s a fascinating column highlighting the nuts and bolts of a modern turnout operation – not to mention a broader ideological evolution that deserves heightened scrutiny as the 2016 primary is now in full swing.

To read Will’s column in its entirety, click here …


2014: Latino Turnout Plummeted


We know turnout was down in 2014.  To be precise, it took a historic nosedive – plummeting to levels not seen in nearly three-quarters of a century.  But we also know about the rapid ascendance of Latino voters – most of whom vote Democratic.  Wasn’t this rising tide supposed to help gird against this pervasive lack of voter enthusiasm?

How could it not?  After all, a recent Pew Hispanic Center report found that two out of every five new voters in America over the next decade-and-a-half are projected to be Latino voters – which would raise the Hispanic voting population from 23.7 million to 40 million.  The Latino voting bloc was “an awakened giant,” the report’s authors concluded.

But did that giant drift of to sleep last November?  UCLA professor Matt A. Barreto – co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions – has the answer.

“While turnout was generally low in 2014, among Latino registered voters it was even lower,” Barreto reported this week.

In fact Barreto’s firm released the following “turnout table” showing the drop-off …


This decline had a considerable electoral impact, too.

“Latino turnout in Florida was only 36.5 percent compared to 50.5 percent statewide,” Barreto wrote. “In 2010, Census data suggest the Latino turnout rate was roughly equal to non-Latino turnout in Florida. In 2014, there was a significant decline in Latino turnout in Florida. In fact, if Latino turnout rate had been equivalent to the statewide average–as it was in 2010–an additional 276,000 Latino votes would have been cast. Given the Florida Governor’s election was decided by just 64,000 votes, those additional 276,000 Latino votes could have proved critical.”

Barreto also cited the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, which saw Republican challenger Cory Gardner defeat Democrat Mark Udall by roughly 40,000 votes (out of more than two million ballots cast).

“Latino turnout was 54.8 percent compared to 71.3 percent statewide among active registered voters in 2014,” Barreto wrote.  “Had Latino turnout been equivalent to the statewide average about 52,000 additional Latino votes would have been cast.”

What drove this nationwide decline?  Barreto doesn’t speculate on specific issues.  In some cases he said the drop-offs resulted from too few competitive statewide races, while in other instances he cited “a lack of effort in mobilizing and connecting with the Latino electorate.”

“Few Americans will rush to the polling booth if they don’t think the candidates care about their community or issues important to them,” he wrote.  “Or if they don’t see much differentiation between the two options. This is not to say that no 2014 candidates cared about Latinos, certainly many did; or that there were not stark differences between their issues, certainly there were. Rather, the data here suggest that candidates in 2014 did not do a good enough job convincing Latino voters that they truly cared, or that they would stand for their issues.”

That’s true – and it’s something strategists in both parties will be parsing in advance of the 2016 cycle in an effort to separate state-by-state anomalies from a broader national trend.