2016 California Republican Presidential Primary Poll

From March 2-5 and 7-9 SmithJohnson Research conducted two California statewide surveys. The target population was registered “2016 likely voters”. Registered Republicans were asked who they supported in the presidential primary. In interviews conducted March 7-9 we also included a question rating Donald Trump’s favorability among voters from all parties.

See the full report

Wayne Johnson Elected Vice President of IAPC in Mexico City

Meeting in Mexico City at the 48th World Conference of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), representatives from more than 30 countries elected Wayne Johnson to serve as one of three international Vice-Presidents. The November 11-14, 2015 Mexico City conference addressed new technologies, the proliferation of populist movements and problems in polling, as well as advances in political psychology and decision theory.

Johnson, a Republican, has previously served as President and Chair of the bi-partisan American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).  He is President of The Wayne Johnson Agency, as well as CEO of Gateway Media, both located in Sacramento, CA and has consulted on numerous political campaigns in South America, Europe and Africa.

The IAPC had its beginning in 1968 when Michel Bongrand of France and Joseph Napolitan of the United States invited a handful of veteran political campaign managers from fifteen countries to meet in Paris to exchange information and opinions about the emerging profession of political consulting.  At the end of the two-day meeting, they decided to formalize their professional interests by organizing the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC).

The IAPC will meet in Denver, CO in 2016, and Reykjavik, Iceland in 2017.

By |November 16th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Why “Speaker” McCarthy is a Very Good Idea

The only thing that will keep Kevin McCarthy from becoming the next Speaker of the House is if he doesn’t want the job. For the sake of the Republican Party, let’s hope he does. I’ve known Kevin McCarthy since he first ran for State Assembly in California and have followed his meteoric rise through the Republican ranks. Many climb that ladder by schmoozing and shameless self-promotion. McCarthy has done it by helping his colleagues, literally, one by one.
Most congressmen hate to walk across the street to the National Republican Congressional Committee offices to make fundraising calls for their re-election. It is virtually unheard of for a member to cross that street to help a colleague on the phones, and yet, I have personally witnessed Kevin McCarthy do that on more than one occasion. He became the Republican Leader in the California Assembly by helping new members work their districts and make fundraising calls. He took that same perspective and work ethic with him to Washington.
The result in California was that all those new members he helped were anxious to make him leader because he was the one person who had taken the time and energy to help. A lot of incoming congressmen have had that same experience, and given the opportunity, will select him as their next leader. If Kevin McCarthy accepts that role, the “Freedom Caucus” will come in from the cold and consequently, both the national conversation and the policy trajectory in Congress will change. The GOP desperately needs for both of those things to happen, and soon.
Most ideological conservatives are used to fighting cultural rear guard actions, or engaging in ad hoc battles entered into with little thought as to their […]

By |September 26th, 2015|Uncategorized|
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    Bernie Sanders leads Caitlyn Jenner almost 4 to 1 in new poll!

Bernie Sanders leads Caitlyn Jenner almost 4 to 1 in new poll!

(Or, “Why presidential polls are entertainment, not news.”)

Last week, using Google’s new polling software, we asked 400 people “eligible to vote in 2016” how they would vote, if the choice came down to either Democrat Bernie Sanders or Republican Caitlyn Jenner. It was just for fun, but since Echelon Insights released their numbers today of the Trump-Kanye match-up, we decided to share our silly season numbers, as well. We’ve all got to get this out of our system before Labor Day. So…more than half of those Americans we polled (53%) said, if given the Berne-Kaitlin choice, they were decidedly Undecided.

Against a formidable candidate like Caitlyn Jenner, Senator Sanders was unable to crack 40% support. And what does it say about Americans that less than 10% of them were willing to vote for someone with the courage to have gender reassignment surgery?

Well, it actually says nothing about Americans, per se, but a whole lot about what passes for news these days. The Fox News decision to let polls drive the debate bus was too much for the Marist Poll, which announced they would suspend polling prior to the Fox debates lest they play an unwitting role in the farce. (See Lee Miringoff’s devastatingly funny analysis here )

But enough about the well-respected Marist Poll and back to the game changer that the stunning Sanders-Jenner matchup promises to be. After all, it has all the ingredients. We’ve got the surging campaign of Senator Sanders who if he wins can, at long last, end this crazy Vietnam War. And we’ve got Caitlyn Jenner, who is married to a Kardashian.

So, why isn’t this survey (and dozens like it) important?

Aside from the fact that not even in some alternate […]

By |September 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|
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    Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

For all their intrusiveness, companies like Facebook really don’t want to hurt us. They want to sell us stuff. And for that reason, we tolerate the cognitive dissonance created by our love for technology and our desire for privacy.

So, it is with the mixed emotions all of us share about such matters that I say, “Facebook studied our neurological patterns and they found out some really cool stuff.”

Chief among the findings was for all our handwringing about dwindling screen sizes, it turns out people are more focused on their mobile screens than their television screens, not less. Equally important, it seems we trust that small screen more, as well. What that means for, say, politicians or the producers of YouTube cat videos is that the advent of mobile has not resulted in a qualitative loss in terms of the ability to communicate with video.

Facebook commissioned the neurological study (basically studying how your body responds to different stimuli) to answer the burning question on every marketer’s mind, namely, “If you keep making screens smaller, will we still be able to sell stuff?” Now, granted, when the government does these kinds of studies, it’s a lot creepier.   Corporations get that, which explains why companies like Facebook and Google hate to see their names linked to government data collection.

This study was done by SalesBrain, itself the brainchild of Christophe Morin and Patrick Renvoisé. Renvoisé’s bio humbly states that he “discovered the buy button inside the brain” which, just for the record, I’m not sure I buy. In any case, the study itself is fascinating in the way watching one’s own autopsy would be fascinating. The “them “of the study is us. And yes, we do act and […]

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    Programmatic Buying: Is Compiled “Big Data” Becoming Obsolete?

Programmatic Buying: Is Compiled “Big Data” Becoming Obsolete?

Huge resources have been poured into “modeling” voters based on compiled consumer data. The problem is that none of those predictive models comes close to beating the latest generation of programmatic ad buying algorithms.

These algorithms are used by Facebook, Google and other online behemoths to sell ad inventory in real time, which is another way of saying it’s how the rest of us buy ad inventory in real time. It is a moment-by-moment auction to see which ads will appear in an individual Facebook user’s news feed, for example. As individuals, we don’t all see the same ads, because advertisers value individual prospective customers (or voters) differently and are willing to bid up the price to place an ad in one news feed, while ignoring another.

That’s the “real” Big Data, and for most online ad buyers, it’s making that endlessly re-modelled compiled data out there seem almost quaint by comparison. When we then import voter file data into the Facebook equation, we suddenly find ourselves with a product far exceeding Big Data’s most grandiose promises. We don’t just talk to users who “look just like our targets”, we talk to our targets.

We can schedule ads to reach only likely voters in a Democratic Primary who vote by mail, for example, while targeting Independents who vote on Election Day, swing 45+ Republican married women, etc. with a different series of ads. Even the phrase “likely voter” is now more science than guesswork. Sophisticated propensity index models use a variety of data points in addition to simple vote history in order to rank voters against increasingly accurate scales.

Here’s the part where it gets dangerous. Agencies that understand this dynamic bid up the price to make sure […]

Why Facebook’s Future Doesn’t Matter

Facebook’s Q2 report makes one thing abundantly clear. No one can possibly predict what this company will look like, or what the Facebook user experience will feel like a year, let along 5 or 10 years from now.   Sure, advertising is up 31% in 2015, but the user experience continues to evolve in ways none of us could have predicted. Digging into the Q2 numbers leads one to the inescapable conclusion that, just as you cannot step into the same river twice, you cannot experience the same Facebook twice. Yeah, it’s changing that fast. So fast, in fact, that the challenge is not to predict what it will become, but to simply stay current with where it is at the moment.

Let’s take a look at the very recent past. Video finally went mainstream on Facebook in the first quarter, (and how that has changed advertising for the top 100 brands is an early indicator of how political advertising is going to change in 2016). Digging into those numbers shows that some companies adapted far more quickly and successfully than others. It also shows that Facebook got it mostly right.
Video is now a major content type, and Facebook users seem to have taken the self-starting videos in stride. The new format has complicated metrics on the back end (which Facebook addressed this morning by shaking up their video ad options). “Likes” are down and “shares” are up, which one would expect as the type of content shifts. People share pictures and videos more often, and that also holds true with ads. Major companies also learned lessons that will help everyone. Simply Measured conducted a study of the Interbrand 100 and recently shared the results. For […]

New Orleans Rocks AAPC (and vice versa)

For those of us in the world of politics and public affairs, there are some events and places that are “can’t miss”. The American Association of Political Consultants Pollie Awards in New Orleans turned out to be precisely that kind of event.
Nestled between Bourbon Street and the Mississippi River, the Omni Royal played host to the largest organization of political professionals in the world.  While television and direct mail continue to claim the lion’s share of many campaign budgets, the shift to digital was clearly on. 
We’ve experience that right here at home with our sister company Gateway Media.  In 2012, traditional radio and television advertising represented 80% of the ad spending, but in 2014 those roles were practically reversed.  Another change this year was a dramatic decrease in the number of Pollies awarded, with categories combined, and judging standards ramped tighter and tighter.
While it’s great to be recognized for any of one’s creative work, we were particularly proud of two Gold Pollies among our wins this year.  Taking home the Gold for Best Internet Campaign among all public affairs firms nationally showed how much the market, and our business, has changed over the last six years.   Another public affairs Gold for Best Facebook Ad reflected Gateway Media’s dominant role in voter-matched Facebook advertising.
One of our favorite ads of 2014 was “Slushie Girl,” produced for the California Drivers Alliance.  Featuring 9-year-old actress Vanessa Steib, this spot was viewed millions of times on Pandora and YouTube and was honored for Best Use of Humor in the Web Video category. 

And we would be remiss not to congratulate our many friends who were named to the first-ever “Forty Under Forty” Awards.  Great music, great food and a powerhouse lineup […]

Augmented Reality

This was announced several hours ago. Your world is about to change…again.

I guess we now know why Microsoft bought Minecraft.

Check out the full video below.

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    Gateway Media Signs Distribution Deal with TV4 Entertainment’s Motorland Network

Gateway Media Signs Distribution Deal with TV4 Entertainment’s Motorland Network

The Motorland Network Adds “Kings of Kustoms” Pilot to Line-up, Now Available to Stream on Hulu.
For immediate release:
December 3, 2014
For further information, visit:
Gateway Media
Kings of Kustoms
(Sacramento) – Gateway Media announced today that the Kings of Kustoms pilot episode will make its debut this month on the Motorland Network channel on Hulu.
“The first episode features the legendary Gene Winfield, who created some of the most iconic cars in film and television,” said Gateway Media President Wayne Johnson. “We’re excited to be working with TV4 Entertainment, and are particularly pleased that the pilot is now on The Motorland channel on Hulu ( and also at www.Motorland.TV.
Fans of Blade Runner, Robocop, Back to the Future and other Hollywood hit films are already familiar with Winfield’s iconic custom vehicles, which broadens the appeal of the show far beyond the car buff audience.
“Director Randy Bond and the Gateway Media team are raising the bar in the car and driver category,” said TV4’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Slinger. “We look forward to seeing more episodes from the Kings of Kustoms franchise.”

TV4 Entertainment. TV4 Entertainment is a next generation television company that aggregates high-quality video content into a portfolio of genre-specific Broadband Television Networks and super-distributes those Networks to all Internet-connected devices. Current programming includes the documentary channel, DocComTV (@doccomtv), the all-military channel, All Warrior Network (@allwarriornet), and the boxing channel, Undisputed Champion Network (@ucnlive) among others. TV4 Entertainment’s mission is to program your passion with great storytelling on every screen, anywhere, anytime.