CHAPTER 3The Winning Message

“‘Poll-driven politics’ is the road to hell,” writes one blogger.

This is true. Polls must not determine progressive policy goals—we’ve got to pursue social justice whether or not it is popular. Polls must not determine what we believe as progressives—we’ve got to follow what’s inside our own souls. But good message framing does depend on good polling. We have to understand what our target audience is thinking in order to decide how to move them in our direction.

What are voters thinking when we say freedom, opportunity, and security? Pollster Celinda Lake tested this philosophy against others in two ways, as a slogan and in a longer description.

This first of these compared the statement, “Government should promote ...

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