Frank Luntz

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Frank Luntz is a researcher who tests messages, marketing and polling on what best works to "sell" GOP policies to the unwary, and is the authority in the party for crafting a unified, market tested sound bites for the GOP agenda. He was responsible for crafting the wording of the Contract with America for Newt Gingrich and market testing the terms and phrases used within it.

In short, he writes the GOP "bible" on how to talk in public and frame the debate.

Contents

Background

According to his LMSR bio, Luntz has worked for "more than a dozen Fortune 100 companies ... from Merrill Lynch to Federal Express, Disney to American Express, from AT&T to Pfizer, from Kroger supermarkets to McDonalds to the entire soft drink and motion picture industries. ... as well as some of the largest business associations, from the Chamber of Commerce to the National Association of Manufacturers to the Business Roundtable."[1]

According to Salon.com, "In 1997, Luntz was formally reprimanded by the American Association for Public Opinion Research for his work polling on the GOP's 1994 'Contract with America' campaign document. Luntz told the media that everything in the contract had the support of at least 60 percent of the general public. Considering the elementary phrasing of that document (stop violent criminals, protect our kids, strong national defense), it seems almost laughably uncontroversial. But one of AAPOR's 1,400 members wasn't so amused, and filed a complaint requesting to see Luntz's research and a verification of the figure. Luntz's response? He couldn't reveal the information because of client confidentiality."[2]

In the summer of 2005, Luntz Research Companies was sold to Omnicorp and was renamed Luntz-Maslansky Strategic Research.

Frank Luntz, the Republican Party's pollster and political consultant tries never to be far from the political spotlight. [3]

  • During the height of the war in Iraq, he conducted televised sessions in Cairo, Paris, and elsewhere for MSNBC.
  • In April 2003 Luntz made headlines when a memo - "The Environment: a cleaner, safer, healthier America" - he prepared for GOP leaders on how to win "the environmental communications battle" was leaked to the press.
  • In May 2003 another memo attributed to The Luntz Research Companies and The Israel Project was leaked. It outlined how American Jewish leaders should incorporate the war in Iraq into their public comments about Israel: "Israeli Communications Priorities 2003"
  • In March 2004, Grist reports on an emphatic Luntz memo (PDF) sent out in February 2004 discussing Americans' intense feelings on the subject of water: "Young and old, Democrat AND Republican, the demand for clean water is universal. More importantly, the public is willing to pay for it . An overwhelming majority of Americans – 91 percent – agree that 'if, as a country, we are willing to invest BILLIONS of dollars annually in highways and airways, we certainly should be willing to make the necessary investments in our nation's waterways. '" [The italic and bold flourishes are Luntz Research's own.]
  • "Communicating the Principles of Prevention and Protection in the War on Terror", mentioned on the PBS TV show "Now with Bill Moyers", apparently prepared for the Bush Administration, full of guidance on specific words, phrases, and context to use when talking about the policy of pre-emption and the war in Iraq." This advice included: "No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11"
  • Media Matters for America wrote a letter to MSNBC urging that Luntz not be included in the station's presidential debate coverage, due to "Luntz's partisan Republican ties and history of questionable scientific methodology." MSNBC did decide to cancel Luntz's participation, two days before the first debate. "I think they [MSNBC] buckled to political pressure," Luntz said. "They caved. . . . Why is it that Democrats are allowed to do this, but Republicans aren't?"[4]
  • Journalist and blogger Joshua Micah Marshall, fact-checking a Luntz claim that "he's done no GOP work since 2001,"[5] describes regular briefings Luntz gave to the House Republican Caucus, at least as recently as mid-2004, and concludes: "Sounds like Luntz provides regular strategy briefings for Republicans and does it, not suprisingly, in part to troll for work."[6] In a subsequent post, Marshall (expanding on others' reports) wrote, "According to the California Secretary of State's website, the Bill Simon (R) for Governor campaign paid Luntz about $80,000 in 2002 and 2003. He also got paid over $25,000 in 2003 by Darrell Issa's recall committee 'RESCUE CALIFORNIA'."[7]

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