Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

As I continue to work through the details of attempting to put together the third polling project with The Courage Campaign, I realize I have reached another point where I need your help. In addition to suggesting ideas for why Francine Busby lost, I now need your help in developing progressive messages you think would work if used by Democratic candidates for Congress in 2006. The messages do not have to be specific to any particular policy area, and can be as broad or narrow as you like. They do, however, have to be short (30 words or less) and they do have to be positive. After all, we don't just want to know why Francine Busby lost, we want to know how she and other candidates could actually win.

Use this thread to post comments outlining what type of positive, progressive messaging you would like to see tested in an actual poll. Also, please consider donating to the Courage Campaign in order to get this thing off the ground.

Tags: messaging, polling project (all tags)



Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

I think the current democratic slogan, "together we can do better," is complete trash. Im sure the kerry campaign came up with it, the idiots over there are the best for all things uncommital, bland, and completely whitewash.

We need a message focusing on the common good and specifically on class issues. "Democrats: Fighting for Billions of People, not Billions of Dollars."

dems are the party of the people, republicans are the party of business, why is that so hard for the consultants down in dc to understand? 99.9% of voters are people, .1% are business--put the election in the bag.

by sonandar 2006-06-19 05:22PM | 0 recs

i told chris this a few days ago via email, but two slogans seem to be resonating with the voters of texas right now, so much so that i've started to see them on bumper stickers:

"enough is enough"


"had enough?  vote democrat"

by annatopia 2006-06-19 06:36PM | 0 recs
Re: agreed

I like those.  Another suggestion on a phrase to test is "fairness and opportunity".  Democrats are the party of fairness and opportunity.  I hear Kos repeat them quite often, and I do think they resonate; and with some "creative thinking" they could be used as the platform of reform, without prejudice. I think Republicans and Democrats do a disservice to this country by approaching issues solely on a partisan basis.  

by oakland 2006-06-20 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Francine lost because of the stupid comment made about not having to have papers to vote. Yes, she meant "to help" but the damage was done and the 4% loss otherwise could have been a victory.

by Tom Friedman 2006-06-19 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Tom is totally correct.  I am aware of private polling showing her two points ahead when she opened her mouth, I have no doubt that she boosted the turnout among a very lethargic Republican electorate and picked up fewer independents than she normally would have.  This was a major league blunder, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

This is the danger that Democrats have in this election.  They have relatively few battle-tested, proven winners running in key challenge races, thus are more susceptible to gaffes.  That is the true wonder of this election cycle, despite the most favorable political climate for Democrats since 1974, very few first-tier challengers emerged, in fact not that many second tier and a lot of third-tier candidates that may have one thing going for them, but not well-rounded candidates.

While I know many of you are not big DCCC fans, Rahm and company did everything short of kidnapping the children of prospective challengers to get them to run, yet many still said no.

The problem is that Democratic officeholders around the country don't seem to believe that tidal waves can go in either direction, they just know about the ones that hit Democrats and benefit Republicans.

by Charlie Cook 2006-06-19 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

I am going to agree with Tom, but for a different reason.  Francine lost because of poor voter turnout.  California turnout only 28 percent, lowest in 86 years. Exit polling showed one-third of voters made up their minds in final three days.

by Lizzy 2006-06-19 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Busby lost because the district had too many Republicans.  That is the crux of it.  As shown by the number which her run-off total exceeded her total in the Dem Primary, she took all of the Democrats and 85% of the independents.  Bilbray barely got more than all of the R's combined who voted in the primary.  There were just too many R's, that's all.  Bilbray himself is not hard-right, and voters didn't associate him with Cuinningham's corruption, showing that the issue will work only against incumbents who have enriched themselves.  This isn't rocket science.

by Mimikatz 2006-06-20 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

No kidding Sherlock.  And the point is that the Democrats, in their present fog, are not changing the hearts and minds of republicans. No matter how unjustice, unfair and unlawfully the Bush Administration is, the republicans are going to still vote for more.  That is not rocket science.

by Lizzy 2006-06-20 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

How about...the Democrats may be called the party of "Cut and Run", but are the Republicans the party of "Stay and Die"?

Last thursday after the debate about the iraq war, immediately the republicans put emails out to their constituents that dems don't support the troops.  The dems need to be able to answer these kind of charges hard and fast with the truth....(because the truth will set you free....don't you know)

We may not be an "organized" party...but we are an "inclusive" party!

by momoaizo 2006-06-19 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

LOL - "Stay and Die"

You Are the Democratic Party!

Diversity, Independence, Strength

Letting Government Do Its Job

Democrats Educate, Republicans Obfuscate

Health Care, Education, Environment

Value Health, Embrace Independence, Imagine the Future


You might also look back into all the branding stuff Oliver Willis was doing a year ago.

by Screwy Hoolie 2006-06-19 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

The post about the current Democratic slogan, "Together, we can do better", being trash is absolutely dead on. It is the blandest, most meaningless phrase tried yet by a party particularly adept at the use of bland, meaningless phrases. A populist, fighting take on an old Clintonian theme (opportunity, responsibility, community) would probably be the best message the party could put out. This reinforces the idea of Democrats as being the party of the common good (hence the opportunity, responsibility, community) while driving home a message capable of stirring the party's base (thus the fighting, populist portion). Not being much of a sloganeer the exact words for this completely escape me. Maybe someone more crafty could give it a try. Maybe something as simple as "Fighting for the Common Good"...not particularly novel but it's a start.  

by wjpugliese 2006-06-19 06:12PM | 0 recs
Dem Slogan

"Government of the People, by the People, and for the People, instead of Government of the Cronies, by the Lobbyists and for the Wealthy."

Just an idea, but I like combining something historic (Lincoln) with something topical (Cronyism, Lobbyist corruption, tax cuts for the rich).

by James Gatz 2006-06-19 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Dem Slogan

"Government of the people, by the people and for the people; and not of the people, by the lobbyists and for the special interests."

by Matt Ortega 2006-06-20 02:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

enlightened self intest

by cascavel 2006-06-19 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

How about --

 That's Enough!
    Enough lies
    Enough corruption
    Enough incompetence
    Enough bigotry
    Enough reckless spending
  Help end Republican domination,

 Vote for __!

[Gingrich ought to be good for something.]

by tarzanne 2006-06-19 06:37PM | 0 recs
I like the 'Enough' Theme
How about:
Have you Had Enough:
High Gas Prices?
High Rx Costs?
Illegal Immigration Double-talk?
Lying Politicians?
Powerful Special Interests?
Then you've had
by James Gatz 2006-06-20 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Bilbray won by promising to end illegal immigration by building a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf.

Republicans don't run on nuance or philosophy - they run on Hot Buttons.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, immigration is the #3 issue  for Americans.

So how do we beat #3? With #1 and #2!

#1: 42% Situation in Iraq/war
#2 29% Fuel/oil prices/lack of energy sources/the energy crisis
#3: 23% Immigration/illegal aliens

I believe we win #1 with this message: Get Out of Iraq - NOW.

I believe we win #2 with this message: Reduce Gas Prices - NOW.

For the details behind these slogans, click here.

by bob fertik 2006-06-19 06:49PM | 0 recs
Common Good and American Dream

The core of Democratic beliefs (at least for me) is that in America EVERYONE can achieve. Everyone can increase their standard of living, get ahead, go to school, start a business, have a family and achieve what ever their individual idea of the American dream is.

I'm not big on "slogans" as much as talking about values that lead to issues. Values are flexible, open, adaptable, whereas issues are specific and change based on point of view.  For example, the Internet benefits everyone, from corporations to individuals. It provides equality of opportunity for everyone to achieve, share information, and connect with an audience specific to the needs of the corporation or individual. The value is equality and fair play which come into play in everyone's life, the issue is access to the Internet, which is a very complex issue few will be bothered or have the time to understand.

Democrats believe everyone can achieve in America because of the common good - equality, fairness, rule of law - inherent in the foundations of our country.  What ever our elevator pitch is, it needs to speak to this core belief that we all share, and appeal to our common strength as a country. It should speak to our greatness as a nation that has been common throughout our history, not harkin back to a glorified yesterday. It should be inherantly uplifting, not just "positive."

"Together, we can do better" is indeed positive. It's also scolding and not uplifting, nor does it create and affiliation with the greatness of our nation. Do better than what? Work together for what?  These questions are easily answered and self serving to the Democratic party, hence the easy spin by the GOP.

At it's core, America is a great nation. When we as a nation function from our core values, there is nothing that can stand in our way as a nation or as individuals.

by michael in chicago 2006-06-19 06:51PM | 0 recs
Deficit = Good-bye Social Security

This is barely on the radar screen but it is a huge issue for senior citizens, many of whom voted for Bush, but are now pissed of over medicare plan B, and still frightened that the GOP's is still talking about mucking around with social security. Seniors understand that there is a tight linkage of the deficit and their benefits. Every soldier in the field means a dozen seniors won't get essential surgery. AARP did a poll back in Feb and this was their #1 issue. Democrats won't go near this issue when it is such an obvious slam dunk.

And the GOP will be more desperate to loot SS than ever because they will want to keep the stock market bouncing along until 2009.

Oh, and seniors also know what it means to be "not able to make minimum payments" which is where the US will be in about 5 years.

by bernardpliers 2006-06-20 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

The Democratic Party is going to help "We, the People" save our democracy from the aristocrats who want to drain everyone else of their dignity and power.

by One Hand Clapping 2006-06-19 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

If the Democrats had shown up, Busby would have won.  So many voters have been disenfranchised by six years of bully politics and shady elections and a lack of Democratic Leadership.

There's a split in the Democratic party - those who want to win and those who don't think it matters anymore.

by Screwy Hoolie 2006-06-19 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread
"Democrats believe in 'Good Government'.
Government can do good for all of us.
Government of the people is not the problem, bad government is the problem."
by DeanOR 2006-06-19 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Although I'm sitting up here in LA, there are a couple of things that seemed obvious to me about the 50th race.

First, Bilbray's more seasoned. He's been a congressman before so he's a lot more of a heavyweight and more incumbent-like than Busby, a school board member from a small suburb.

Second, the hot button, get-people-to-the-polls issue was immigration, and in this Republican dominated district, that gaffe was no good. In the minds of alarmists, even after the explanation, Busby was making a direct appeal to illegal immigrants to help on her campaign. We're talking about a rich, conservative district less than an hour -with traffic- from Tijuana.

Immigration was the biggest factor in this race. If it had been "culture of corruption" Busby would have won.

As to the low turnout, it's generally accepted that mudslinging depresses turnout and there were some slimy ads going back and forth in this race (see http://www.factcheck.org/article392.html ). The mudfest in the Democratic primary for Governor was also particularly nasty and might have disgusted casual Democrats.

So I would ask people who voted:

1. Did you hear Busby's gaffe? Do you accept her explanation? Did either the gaffe or the explanation affect your vote?

2. Do you know about the candidates' experience in government? Did that affect your vote?

3. Do you think one party is more prone to corruption than the other?

4. How would you characterize the problem of corruption in the federal government?

And I would ask those who stayed home:

1) Did negative campaigning have an affect on your decision not to vote?

2) Did the immigration issue affect your decision not to vote?

by davefordemocracy 2006-06-19 08:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

"Support the troops by supporting democratic thought, and democratic change."

"Let's take our democracy back."

"Let's make America red, white, and blue again, not just blue and red."

"The Republicans' politics of division has not worked."

"Progressive democrats will bring real political discourse back into the politics of America."

by maeve 2006-06-19 09:35PM | 0 recs

I hate these slogan fests, but I'm always sucked in.

The "Together we can do better" slogan, which was on my goodie bag at the CA Democratic Convention, reminds me of the slogan that SEPTA used in the '80s. SEPTA is Philadelphia's public transportation authority and they had an awful reputation.

"We're getting there..."

I can't remember if it was an exclamation point or an ellipses at the end, but whatever. Lame.

Does anyone talk about using one word or two word slogans? Imagine a commercial about how NATO brought peace to Bosnia and Clinton and Wesley Clark saved all these lives. Then at the end some retired general says things were better when the Democrats were in charge and the slogan comes up: "Saving lives."

You could do an environmental ad, a healthcare ad, an education ad that links dropout rates to crime, a social security ad. Find a signature Democratic initiative for each issue so that the ads are concrete, be sure to say the word Democrat, and then end each ad with, "Saving lives."

Over the top? I don't know. It has impact. Not bad for 11 pm.

by davefordemocracy 2006-06-19 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

This one's been rattling around in my head since YearlyKos:

We believe in science
     that means health care for all
     that means energy self-sufficiency
     that means the best education in the world
     that means a world for our grandchildren better than the one our grandparents left us


Democrats: The reality-based party

by hono lulu 2006-06-19 10:56PM | 0 recs
It's called a progressive message

What the fuck are the rest of you talking about?

Ask the folks what they think about progressive ideas like universal health care, more grants and less loans for college, the minimum wage, federally funded elections, joining unions, and any other progressive ideas. Once we have an idea where people stand we can see how much selling of each idea we have to do. I would like to see the polling used in reverse, why cater the message to the belief? Instead, use the knowledge you have gained polling to see where you need to sell your ideas more.

by jbou 2006-06-20 12:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

I blogged a similar slogan to this here (http://thegreatsociety.blogsome.com/2006 04/26/its-time-for-america-to-get-real )

Feel free to play around with it.

It's time for America to get real.

<u>Real<u> national security.
<u>Real</u> healthcare.
<u>Real</u> oversight.
<u>Real</u> leadership.

Christy Hardin Smith, a.k.a. ReddHedd at firedoglake picked up on the slogan recently at FDL. (http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/06/15/wi th-debate-in-the-house-thoughts-on-iraq- and-the-so-called-wot)

by Matt Ortega 2006-06-20 01:52AM | 0 recs
I think this Dubai Port deal is the key

My sense is that the key to framing a message campaign for Dems in '06 and '08 is a very basic idea:  participation.

Everything loathsome and dangerous about the Bush regime has come via the exclusion of popular participation in government.  

What we stand for as a party is the return of popular participation in the American system, which...incidentally...is also what The Constitution stood for.

As for the message...

2006: "Congress is back."
2008: "America has no more time to waste."

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-06-20 04:23AM | 0 recs
Libertarian on Social Issues
The Progressive social policy can almost always be explained with libertarian rhetoric. Gay Marriage and Abortion are two good examples:
Government stops at your front door, which means they don't come in to take your guns, tap your phones, regulate your sex life, or make medical decisions for you.

It's an easy way to tie the hands-off social attitude to already-accepted rural/conservative opinion. Make people think that if they regulate abortion rights, they can take your guns too. It's the Paul Hackett, Jim Webb, Al Weed approach to social issues.
by msnook 2006-06-20 07:10AM | 0 recs
Progressive Marginal Income Tax Structure
The progressive income tax structure can be explained in terms of less tax burden for the poor, rather than more taxes for the rich.
The working class is paying too much of this country's taxes.
by msnook 2006-06-20 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

1. Open hearts, open minds, open eyes.

2. Fight trickle-down stupidity

3. Democrats. We're not fucking around.

I also really dig the the "Get Real" line by Matt O.

by JerryColorado 2006-06-20 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

People helping people.

Neighbors helping neighbors.

by Drama Queen 2006-06-20 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

I agree. I don't want to hear that democrats are going to lower gass prices. I want to hear that we are going get off the OPEC addiction. I want to hear that alternative solutions are going to be implemented. For goodness sake, Brazil is now totally energy independant due to their own domestic ethanol production. Now, it's true our needs for gas are much greater than those of Brazil, but imagine if fuel economy standards were pushed up significantly.. heck: imagine every new car on the road as of 2007 was a flex fuel hybrid that gets 40+MPG?? Our national gas consumption would take a nose dive and prices would soon follow.

by TimThe Terrible 2006-06-20 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

Make that a Plug-in flex fuel (E-85 ethanol ready) hybrid and you have my dream car. Able to drive to work and back on just electric (which is damned cheap where I live) or to my Mother's house on e-85 while still getting 35mpg (or 40mpg with regular petroleum gas). These are all technologies that we have today!

by TimThe Terrible 2006-06-20 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: It's called a progressive message

Seems to me people have been fed such a line of BS about progressive policies for so long, they have hard wired negative associations. Case in point: Socialized health care = higher taxes, longer waits, poor service quality. The republicans have controlled the messaging long enough now that I wouldn't be surprised if such ideas would poll terribly.

by TimThe Terrible 2006-06-20 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: It's called a progressive message

If that is the case then we have to start from scratch selling our ideas. The right wingers knew their ideas sucked so they spent millions and millions of dollars selling their ideas, and i don't think our ideas are near as bad as the right winger's are.

by jbou 2006-06-20 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

I got some interesting answers when I asked a couple of months ago about possible slogans:


Democrats...A party of the people and for the people  


Here are couple of my ideas for helping the Dems that we could possibly do here.  The easiest one is to download the "had enough" logo over at IL DEM NET.  The other one is a bit more problematic.  We could provide an avenue for unfiltered podcasts by Democratic candidates like is down with Al Gore's speeches or as is listed at http://politicalwire.com/archives/2006/0 4/03/campaigns_turn_to_online_video.html  This step would have to be debated by the entire community.


Make them sweat.

Also, let the Diebolds of the world know you're watching them and you're coming after them with law suits if they screw up.



Labor. Good jobs. Good wages. Universal health care. No wars. Right to privacy. Republicans suck. Democrats suck. Godammit we need a Third Party.


Global Warming is real.

Peak Oil is real.

Military Industrial Complex is real.

*    Bring back Congressional Oversight,
    Vote Democratic in 2006
Bring Responsibility Back to Government, Vote Democratic
Borrow and Spend Republicans
Republicans don't want to Govern, they want to Rule

Bush and the Republicans have made USA stand for: UNACCOUNTABLE SECRET


How about FDR.  Fair Democratic Reform.


Some thoughts on possible campaign themes... (I'm a Political Scientist; I've spent the past 25 years studying presidential campaigns).

We want what's best for all Americans, not just a chosen few.
We want better, not bigger, government.
Everyone should pay their fair share.  Nobody likes to, but everybody has to.
Are you better off than you were six years ago?

The first two are good. I think people will react negatively to the the third one; no one wants to pay taxes so the Democrats shouldn't tell them they have to. The fourth one is a good message but too vague. (You and I know exactly what happened 6 years ago but many people won't make the connection.) Maybe something like this would be better: "The Republicans have been running the government for six years. It's time for a change." And here's another (partly thanks to Newt Gingrich):

"Iraq, Katrina, torture, spying on Americans, record deficits, gas prices, corruption... Had Enough?"

Paul G

Try this on for size: Good government.  Ahhhh! What is good government? Balancing the budget. Energy independence. Ending corporate wellfare. Not wiretapping American citizens without warrants. Fill it in. It changes the frame.

Carolyn Kay

by Caro 2006-06-20 12:16PM | 0 recs
See the GOP Cut and Run !

Bravo Lucas! I thought of this while driving last week and lost it, tried to recover it but couldn't. Thank you!

This would be very very effective.

"GOP cut and run from Katrina" etc etc

by bernardpliers 2006-06-20 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Progressive Messaging Thread

After 9-11, the Bush administration "dismantled our security apparatus" to create DHS, and did a clean sweep of the CIA to fill it with toadies.

That's a tough one to explain....

by bernardpliers 2006-06-21 03:56AM | 0 recs


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