Stanley Greenberg

Stanley B. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and a co-founder of Democracy Corps. He is a co-editor of The New Majority: Toward a Popular Progressive Politics, published by Yale University Press.

Recent Articles

Mandela on the Campaign Trail

Jenny Warburg
Jenny Warburg Below is an excerpt from Stanley Greenberg's book, Dispatches from the War Room: In the Trenches with Five Extraordinary Leaders . In one section of the memoir, published in 2009, Greenberg, a Democratic pollster currently at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, recounts his time parsing data for Nelson Mandela's presidential campaign. T he first time I met Nelson Mandela was in 1993. I had been invited to give a strategy workshop, with Frank Greer, to 80 African National Congress campaign organizers. As Frank and I mounted a small stage to begin our presentation, Mandela eagerly took his place in the front row. When we finished, Mandela raised his hand to ask the first question: “Mr. Greer and Mr. Greenberg, in your vast experience with modern campaigns and President Clinton, is it better to have a low building with functions spread out across a few big floors or to have a tall building with functions on each of many floors?” I was taken aback. Clearly Mandela was willing to get...

Winning With the Economy -- or Without It

Candidates running with the economy against them have a tougher go, but it's possible to win by changing the conversation.

(AP Photo)
The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns by Lynn Vavreck, Princeton University Press, 205 pages, $24.95 No future candidates for president and few of their advisers will read Lynn Vavreck's new book -- her statistical methods and academic style guarantee that -- but they will miss it at their own peril. This is not just another book about the impact of the economy on elections. The Message Matters breaks new ground in showing how presidential candidates effectively use the economy when it works in their favor and how some candidates win even when the economy is working against them. For decades political scientists have tried to predict the outcome of elections by constructing statistical models that use different measures of economic performance and ignore the character of the candidates and the choices of their campaigns. As a pollster who has helped direct campaigns, I have never found these academic models all that convincing. Missing the final vote by up to 8...

Democrats Are Back -- But...

There's a catch: The Republicans have so discredited government that Democrats will encounter trouble backing the programs that they, and a conflicted public, know the nation needs.

Today's presidential candidates navigate a partisan landscape strikingly more Democratic than that in 2004 and even 2006. Poll after poll confirms the president's low job approval and the public's contempt for the Republican Party. For the first time since 1989, the Pew poll shows a majority of voters now call themselves Democrats, and polling for Democracy Corps (of which I'm a co-founder) shows a Democratic advantage that's grown even larger since the 2006 election. Yet there is a new reality that Democrats must deal with if they are to be successful going forward. In their breathtaking incompetence and comprehensive failure in government, Republicans have undermined Americans' confidence in the ability of government to play a role in solving America's problems. Democrats will not make sustainable gains unless they are able to restore the public's confidence in its capacity to act through government. THE FAILURE OF CONSERVATISM Over the past six years, the world has watched the...

From Crisis to Working Majority

The story of the Democratic Party crisis begins in Macomb County, north of the Detroit City line -- and in Northeast Philadelphia, Cobb County near Atlanta, California's San Fernando Valley, and numerous other working- and middle-class neighborhoods across the country. These were the homes of loyal Democrats: people who felt at ease in a diverse, bottom-up, majority coalition that used politics and government to advance the interests of working people. But here we find alienated voters today with little good to say about politics or Democrats. I heard those disaffected voices in Macomb County in 1985, when

1991: How We Found -- and Lost -- a Majority

Stanley B. Greenberg's Fall 1991 article, “From Crisis to Working Majority,” was widely considered a key manifesto for the 1992 Clinton campaign. Bob Woodward reported that Bill Clinton said he had read it three times. On the eve of Bill Clinton's announced candidacy for president, I reviewed a wave of provocative books about the “deepening crisis of the Democratic Party.” With Michael Dukakis' hapless campaign as backdrop, the books described a party of taxes and big government, entrapped by special interests, perhaps condemned to a permanent minority status. But wide swaths of middle America, including the Reagan Democrats, were looking for a way back. “A bottom-up Democratic coalition,” I wrote, “can win back its majority if it rediscovers the values and interests of middle-class America; if it fashions a broad-based class politics and critique of the Reagan-Bush era; and if it learns from important recent progressive works a renewed commitment to politics and national purpose.”...

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