Stanley Greenberg

Stanley B. Greenberg is a founding partner of Greenberg Research and Democracy Corps, and author of America Ascendant: A Revolutionary Nation's Path to Addressing Its Deepest Problems and Leading the 21st Century.

Recent Articles

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 Reagan Democrats told me that the middle-class white guy gets a raw deal today When journalists Peter Brown of the Scripps-Howard newspapers and Thomas Edsall of The Washington Post visited Macomb and other areas last year, they found people even more articulate about busing, taxes and welfare, liberals and flag-burning -- and even more remote from the national Democrats. The...

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.”...

Contesting Values

In his State of the Union address, President Bush told a rapt nation and the assembled government of the United States that our nation faces grave threats and must live up to its "great responsibilities," which include defending the "pillars of our civilization": our "families and schools and religious congregations." What is more, he warned, America can only be strong if we "value the institution of marriage." Citing the threat of activist judges poised to impose gay marriage on a reluctant nation, Bush vowed to "defend the sanctity of marriage." Through these remarks, Bush made clear his desire to put values at the center of the public debate in 2004. The political calculation hardly seems difficult in light of presumed public prejudices. According to national polls, Republicans are preferred to Democrats by a margin of 22 percentage points when it comes to promoting strong moral values (45 percent to 23 percent); it's an advantage that extends to almost all family-related areas,...

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