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US election strategist tells how he did it

By Ernest Petrosyan
Thursday, November 20
On November 19 Dr. Jeremy D. Rosner delivered a seminar about the US elections and the electoral strategy of both the Democratic and Republican parties at the US Embassy in Tbilisi.

Dr. Rosner delivered a very detailed seminar about the US electoral process and the strategies of both candidates and parties. Having worked for President-elect Obama’s electoral campaign and the Democratic Party, Dr. Rosner explained its whole strategy. He said that it was an historic election for the US, and that Barack Obama had achieved the impossible. He had become the first African-American President in American history, without having a very strong political background compared to his rival John McCain. It had been considered almost impossible to win the elections running for the first time, because in America candidates run several times before they succeed. Also a candidate selected early is more likely to win the elections. McCain was selected by the Republican Party several months before Obama was by the Democrats, which gave him a very huge advantage on paper.

The main message of Obama’s election campaign was “CHANGE” in economy, taxation, healthcare, national security and in foreign policy, which he said should be based on negotiations and diplomacy. Obama also preferred to run a calm and less emotional campaign. Meanwhile McCain’s was preoccupied with criticizing Obama’s policy, emphasizing his lack of political experience, allegedly inaccurate taxation policy and inability to manage issues on Iraq. The most important element of his strategy was the economy, which against the background of the global financial crisis and US recession was a very real issue. Moreover, for the first time during the last decade, the economy proved more important than national security and social welfare during the campaign.

However, the Obama campaign was more effective, said Dr. Rosner. On election day polls stated that about 63% of Americans were sure that Obama would handle the economic crisis better than McCain, moreover, they were sure that Obama would do better on Iraq issues. People voted for Obama despite him saying he was going to raise taxes, said Dr. Rosner.

Obama had very different electorate to McCain. He managed to attract the majority of Hispanics, who compose 9% of total electorate. His rating among African-Americans reached 96%.

Dr. Rosner, Executive Vice President at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner in Washington, DC, is one of the world’s leading consultants for political parties, candidates, Governments, NGOs, and corporate leaders around the globe. He specializes in using sophisticated public opinion research to help global leaders design and implement winning political and communications strategies. His work as a pollster, campaign consultant, strategic adviser, and expert on international affairs focuses heavily on the transitional countries of Central Europe and Latin America, and has been cited in many publications around the world. Since joining GQR in 1998, Dr. Rosner has directed public opinion research and provided strategic advice for dozens of leaders such as President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British Labour Party.