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Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about.

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Presentation on theme: "Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about National Security

2 January 3, 2014 The following are progressive messages on national security that test strongly in representative national samples. Each message provides a brief narrative that summarizes an often complex position in five or six sentences, usually including a tagline that captures its essence, indicated in bold. Messages were developed through 3 rounds of qualitative and quantitative research which tested them against strong conservative messages. All data presented are derived from survey research of likely voters, developed over the following phases: Focus Groups: 8 groups among swing voters and weak partisans testing various message concepts and language. Internet panel survey of national likely voters (July 8, 2008): In 2 online surveys respondents heard conservative and progressive messages delivered by a Republican and Democratic candidate, respectively, in an audio format. Along with other measures, respondents rated messages in moment-to-moment dial testing, which helped identify which elements resonated the most. (N = 405 respondents per message tested.) Telephone survey of national likely voters (October 5, 2008): Respondents heard conservative and progressive messages on a variety of issues delivered by a Republican and Democratic candidate, respectively. They were then asked to rate each message and vote for the candidate whom they preferred based on the message. (N = 412 respondents per message tested.) Project Summary and Methodology

3 January 3, 2014 We need a foreign policy that treats our allies with respect, hostile nations with resolve, and terrorists without mercy. In the last seven years, we've alienated our friends and emboldened our enemies. Al Qaeda has regained strength in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increased its forces around the world, as the Iraq War diverted both our attention and our resources from fighting our real enemy. It's time we develop a national security strategy for the twenty- first century, starting with rebuilding our military and developing a fighting force designed for the military challenges we face in this century, not the last. But military strength is not enough. As John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. It's time we lead again through the strength of our military, the strength of our alliances, and the strength of our diplomacy. Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message

4 January 3, 2014 It's time to return to fundamentals on national security. That means rebuilding our military, expanding the U.S. Army, Marines, and special forces by a hundred thousand troops, and sending them to war only with a clearly defined mission and exit strategy. Returning to fundamentals means knowing when to use weapons and knowing when to use words. Only a bully says, "I have nothing to say to you until you agree to my terms." That's weakness, not strength. And returning to fundamentals means returning to the values that made us strong. As a nation, we have always led by our might but also by our example. When we reserve the right to torture, when we lock people up for years without trials on the basis of suspicions, we not only set the standard for others to use against our citizens and soldiers but we lose the moral authority that has always defined this nation. It's time to restore our place as the leader of the free world. Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message

5 January 3, 2014 Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message We can't afford any more of the reckless foreign policy that has cost us over half a trillion dollars and thousands of lives over the last eight years. We need a foreign policy based on reality and common sense, not ideology. That means a responsible withdrawal of our soldiers from Iraq, guided by our senior military officers, and taking the fight to the terrorists where they live, by finding and killing bin Laden and routing Al Qaeda out of the hills and caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It means rebuilding our alliances and restoring our reputation around the world. It means never again exempting ourselves from the international laws we led the world in creating. And it means pursuing a new energy policy, including alternative sources, to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. We need a new strategy for national security in the 21st century and a renewed commitment to the principles that have always made us strong, safe, and respected. In the last eight years, we lost our way, and it's time to find it again.

6 January 3, 2014 If we detain people without hearings, wiretap our own citizens, and torture people on mere suspicions, the terrorists have won, because we have given up everything our country has stood for over two hundred years. America is the only nation ever founded on an idea, the idea of freedom. We have always led by our right as well as by our might. We have always set the standards to which other nations aspired. We have the most powerful military in the world, and it is time to rebuild it. We have had the strongest alliances in the world, and it's time we restore them. We led the world in the creation of international law, and it's time we uphold it. We should be known as the nation that prosecuted Japanese soldiers for torture in World War II, not a nation that practices it. We will defeat and destroy al Qaeda long before they destroy us or the idea of freedom this nation represents. Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message

7 January 3, 2014 Internet Panel Dial Tests of Strong Progressive Messages The following are message dial tests among likely voters. Click each message below to play its dial graph. The graph plots the mean rating score for the message on a scale. The colored lines represent the scores among Republicans, Independents, Democrats and all respondents. …We need a foreign policy based on reality, not ideology… (CLICK TO VIEW) Our national security depends on three pillars: the strength of our military and intelligence, our alliances, and our diplomacy… (CLICK TO VIEW) Our security as a nation depends on both our strength abroad and our strength at home… (CLICK TO VIEW)

8 January 3, 2014 Internet Panel Dial Tests of Strong Progressive Messages The following are message dial tests among likely voters. Click each message below to play its dial graph. The graph plots the mean rating score for the message on a scale. The colored lines represent the scores among Republicans, Independents, Democrats and all respondents. We need leaders who understand what Teddy Roosevelt meant when he said that America should walk softly and carry and big stick… (CLICK TO VIEW) Its time to return to fundamentals on national security. We need to rebuild our military, with well armed, well rested soldiers, and to send them to war only with a clearly defined mission and exit strategy… (CLICK TO VIEW)

9 January 3, 2014 Reassure on toughness: We need a foreign policy that treats our allies with respect, hostile nations with resolve, and terrorists without mercy. Offer positive solutions, particularly those that draw on time-honored principle (e.g., Its time to return to fundamentals on national security; We strengthen our security by restoring our alliances, respecting international law, and regaining respect for America abroad… Redefine diplomacy as strength: As John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. Its time to lead again through the strength of our military, the strength of our alliances and the strength of our diplomacy. Distinguish strength and decisiveness from recklessness. The core contrast for the progressive vision is against a reckless foreign policy that has cost us over half a trillion dollars and thousands of lives… Speak pragmatically and realistically, not ideologically: We need a foreign policy based on reality, not ideology. How to Talk about National Security: Key Points

10 January 3, 2014 Civil liberties. Progressives can win the debate on torture and civil liberties soundly, but only after reassuring voters with toughness, avoiding jargon such as habeas corpus and Geneva Conventions, and placing our stance toward torture and respect for freedom from government intrusion in the context of a strong commitment to American values and to restoring our position of moral leadership in the world. How to Talk about National Security: Key Points Start with emphasizing support for military strength before describing other forms of strength (e.g., tough diplomacy, strong intelligence). Emphasize commitment to soldiers and the military: We strengthen our security by upholding the oath to our soldiers to take their lives and the welfare of their families as serious as we do ours. Talk about our leadership role in the free world: leading the world through military strength, strong alliances, tough diplomacy with friend and foe, and leading by our principles. Language to Avoid

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