Worth Discussing

In Response to the Washington Examiner

Luke Frans | January 9, 2014

The Washington Examiner declined to post the following response after receiving it on December 20.

A Washington Examiner article from December 19 mischaracterizes the work of Resurgent Republic, and attributes to the conservative research organization and its co-founder Ed Gillespie statements that are not contained in the May 2010 research memo cited in the article (complete survey toplines can be found here).

The article describes Resurgent Republic as a "firm," but it is actually a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit research organization dedicated to shaping the debate over the proper role of government. It has tested public opinion on more than 100 free-market, pro-growth policy messages. All its research is made public, regardless of the results.

The article incorrectly asserts that a May 2010 Resurgent Republic findings memo recommended "changes to the health care law rather than demanding its full repeal."

The May 2010 survey measured voter response to a three-part question on how Congress should respond to Obamacare, which the president jammed through the House and Senate on a partisan basis less than two months prior. At the time of the survey, 22% favored leaving the law in place, while 72% supported either amend and modify (37%) or repeal and replace (35%).

A two-point spread is not statistically significant, and no credible research organization would make a sweeping claim based upon that finding. Yet that's exactly what the Washington Examiner article attributes to Resurgent Republic. The May 2010 memo simply notes that voters were split in their response to this question at that time. Reporting findings is not the same as agreeing with them.

In fact, the only health care message guidance included in the memo is absent from the article, which was, "Obamacare increases premiums, health care costs, taxes and the federal deficit, while decreasing quality of care." This message continues to resonate with voters today. And the article's myopic focus on that May 2010 survey ignores six subsequent national surveys in which Resurgent Republic tested how best to frame a repeal and replace message.

Regarding immigration reform, the article states that Resurgent Republic told candidates "to say 'legalization' rather than 'amnesty' in debates over immigration." Yet neither of those words even appears in the survey nor the findings memo.

The comments attributed to Mr. Gillespie in the Washington Examiner article are not found in the survey memo, and were made by another Resurgent Republic board member, according to a Politico story at the time.