They're with her: PR execs predict a resounding Clinton victory

Communications pros reached in an informal survey by PRWeek overwhelmingly predicted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make history on Tuesday and become the first woman elected president of the United States.

PR pros overwhelmingly predicted that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency on Tuesday. (Image via Facebook).
PR pros overwhelmingly predicted that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency on Tuesday. (Image via Facebook).

Don Baer, worldwide chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller
I predict Clinton will win, because she has a vision for unifying our divided country and she has the experience, knowledge, and determination to get the job done for the sake of the American people. I have had the great opportunity to know and work with Clinton for 25 years, and, in my view, she is the best-prepared candidate to lead America to meet the challenges of our times. The American people have learned this about her through the course of this long, unprecedented campaign, and she will win the presidency as a result.

Kris Balderston, president of global public affairs and strategic engagement, FleishmanHillard
After being on the ground in three battleground states in one week, I believe that my former boss Hillary Clinton will make history and become the first woman POTUS and she will win by an Electoral College landslide of 322 to 216. That includes Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina. I think the popular vote margin will be 51-45 for her. As is usually the case, the party that wins the presidency will take over the Senate. This election will require the next president to come up with creative and new ways to bring the country together.

Lee Carter, president, maslansky + partners
My guess: Trump wins popular vote but barely and loses the electoral college. I’m being provocative here on purpose. And not political. There is a reason for that. This is the single most divisive election in history. We have never had two candidates who were liked or trusted less. So how could the result be anything but divisive? There’s no shortage of lessons from both about communication.

Lessons from Trump. Trump has a clear message—Make America Great Again. And like it or not, it has worked. He kept it simple. He repeated it over, and over and over again. He was also smart about limiting the number of policies he spoke about. A wall. Gun Control. Jobs. Trade.

Lesson from Hillary. Hillary did not have a clear message throughout the campaign. I’m with her. Hillary for America. Fighting for you. And finally…Stronger together. She also suffered from overcomplicating policy.

As communicators we have the ability to know our audiences better than we ever have before. We can be closer to them and deliver directly to them. And, at the end of the day Hillary has done that.

Jen Dobrzelecki, EVP and Head of U.S., M&C Saatchi PR
No doubt about it—Hillary Clinton has to be our new president. Not only does she have to be, she will be. Remember, she started working on this campaign nearly 10 years ago, and over that time has built a compelling story and stuck with that narrative — clearly outlining her plan, backing up her ideas and statements with real facts, and reminding us of the experience that actually makes her qualified for the job.
 
Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman
Hillary Clinton will get 300-plus electoral votes. She is steady, experienced, and known. She will have to unite us. She should reference Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural speech which came after a bitter campaign versus John Adams in 1800, in which he said, "We are all Democrats; we are all Republicans." [Clinton] should also appoint some Republican legislators to the cabinet.
 
Rob Flaherty, CEO, Ketchum
Clinton is going to win and the reason is that Trump could never get the concept of the "movable middle" in campaign strategy. One of the most basic and fundamental concepts is that, once you have secured your base, you need to capture a larger share of the undecided voters in the center (the movable middle) than your opponent. Trump alienated a huge cut of the movable middle when he turned off most Hispanics, African Americans, and women with his comments. For that reason, Clinton will capture at least 310 electoral votes.

Rick French, chairman and CEO, French|West|Vaughn
Clinton will win, in a closer election than anyone could have predicted. The belief of many that Trump is unfit to be President will be enough to swing a majority of independents to her side, which should give her close victories in several crucial swing states.

Peter Himler, founding principal, Flatiron Communications
Jim Comey notwithstanding, I predict Hillary Clinton will make history and become America’s first female president. On CNN Sunday, two respected pollsters projected 316 and 322 electoral votes. I don’t believe she will prevail with that sizeable a margin for the following reasons: U.S. news organizations’ failure to fulfill their essential role as truth-checkers; the Democrats’ inability to coalesce around a cogent and convincing narrative that leveraged their achievements and exposed the GOP’s true policies; Trump and his surrogates’ deft domination of live TV with unrelenting and unfiltered delivery of disinformation; Facebook as amplifier of false news; and GOP voter suppression in battleground states. Let’s pray that our nation recovers from this election.
 
Kim Hunter, president and CEO, Lagrant Communications
Clinton will be the next president of the United States. She is by far the most qualified and able candidate to be the president of the U.S.

Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, Text100
Clinton will win with a sizable majority. While I believe at the very least she will win the Electoral College, I also feel confident she will win the popular vote as well. I expect that Clinton supporters are concerned enough that complacency now could culminate in a situation similar to Brexit. As a result, we'll see incredibly high voter turnout on Tuesday.

Greg Jenkins, founder of North Bay Strategies
Who wins tomorrow? I've seen a lot of elections up close. I worked on four of them, I covered them as a journalist, and I even worked in the White House for a time. With that experience and insight, I predict with absolute confidence that on Tuesday…somebody will probably be elected president of the United States. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but this cycle has upended all the usual rules. If we learn anything from 2016, it’s that predictions will be wrong. If I were a betting man, I'd say this is Hilary's to lose. She simply has more paths to 270 than Trump does. Then again, if I'd been betting all during this campaign I wouldn't have a nickel left to wager on Tuesday's outcome. To paraphrase the great Bette Davis: fasten your seat-belts, America. It's going to be a bumpy night.
 
Pam Jenkins, president, Powell Tate
Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric has appealed to many voters, particularly working-class people in the middle and southern parts of the U.S., angered by the declining manufacturing economy and the changing values and demographics of the country.  He knows the craft of the sound bite.  He’s the master of the ratings game.
 
That said, winning the presidency requires a disciplined strategy, along with a message that appeals to a diverse population and a ground game that gets voters to the polls. Trump’s inability to stay on message; his propensity to insult those whose support he needed (including women and Hispanics); and his lack of campaign infrastructure and get out the vote have left him with a daunting task on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton had the plan, the discipline, the digital strategy, and organization to deliver.  I predict HRC will raise her right hand on January 20.
 
Aaron Kwittken, CEO and global chairman, Kwittken
Clinton will win, but likely by just a hair in the general election. She will win only because she’s perceived by many to be a pair of safe hands, even when taking into account the "trust" issues that have dogged her candidacy and legacy. I do think that Trump’s candidacy, oddly, will in fact "Make America Great Again" because his running has given rise to important "ism" issues (racism, classism, sexism) that would have remained in the shadows for far too long had it not been for his divisive rhetoric. Now, together, we must address these issues head on as a unified nation and move on.

David Landis, president, Landis Communications
On Wednesday, I will take great joy in welcoming the U.S.' first female president. There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton will be our next leader and that the Democrats will take back the Senate. My prediction is that we will be awed by the numbers. Why? Our current polling system is flawed: it mostly leverages people with land lines (no one I know in California). As a result, the polls don't take into consideration younger voters. Plus, the early voting returns are showing a huge turnout for Hillary from ethnic populations. This election will show the world truly who Americans are at their essence: a country of inclusion and possibilities for all."
 
Richard Levick, founder and CEO, Levick
Clinton is going to win with over 300 electoral votes. However, the House has made it clear is they its whole raison d'être is to investigate, indict, or impeach Clinton. Trump will ultimately lose because he acts like a neofascist. He is so offensive to so many groups including women, Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, POWs—I am hard-pressed to think of a group that he hasn’t offended. He lies on average in speeches every five minutes. If Trump doesn’t perceive you as loyal to him, not the country, he tries to criminalize that behavior. As a result, our body politic will forever be negatively impacted by that. The primary reason he loses is he is remarkably and uniquely unqualified.

Jamie Moeller, global MD, public affairs, Ogilvy Public Relations
Hillary Clinton wins by a slightly larger margin than Barack Obama did in 2012. Democrats pick up five seats in the Senate to take tenuous for the next two years. Republicans lose a net of 18 seats in the House, most of them "moderates." Paul Ryan will then face the prospect of leading an increasingly intransigent GOP Caucus, which means to accomplish any legislative objectives he will have to make deals with Congressional Democrats and the Clinton Administration. Recognizing that this type of cooperation will make him a pariah on the right and destroy any chance he might have of winning the GOP presidential nomination in 2020, he will not stand for reelection as speaker.

Beth Monaghan, CEO, Inkhouse
Clinton will win on Tuesday. Sure, I want her to win because it will be momentous for women's equality and opportunity, but that's not why she will win. Elan Kriegel is one of her top advisers, and he's running a mathematical game that is patient, methodical, and targeted. Understanding exactly who to reach, when to reach them, and how is the new science of public relations, and it's the thing that can win elections.

Connie Partoyan, CEO, Direct Impact
This has, largely, been an election about personalities and less about policy issues. I believe that Hillary Clinton will prevail in this election and, by a larger margin than has been predicted in the closing days of the campaign. She will win because she has a much broader coalition of voters combined with a significant ground game that was able to turn out her voters but also appeal to a fraction of moderate Republicans who couldn’t support the Republican nominee.
 
In terms of Congress, the U.S. Senate could very well end up in a 50-50 split but I believe the Democrats have a slight advantage to take control of the Senate but by a razor thin margin. The House of Representatives will continue to be controlled by the Republicans but with a smaller majority.

Michael Petrozello, MD, Qorvis MSLGroup
Hillary Clinton has skillfully used every tool in the PR toolkit – branding, marketing, paid media, earned media, digital outreach – and yes, crisis communications. Donald Trump has a slogan on a hat. Whatever your politics happen to be, the fundamentals of communication still matter. Hillary Clinton successfully made this election a referendum on Donald Trump’s fitness to lead – and he will be found wanting. From week to week, Donald Trump tried to make this election about emails, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, China, Mexico, and Jay-Z and Beyonce. A single message, relentlessly communicated and properly amplified, just as Clinton has demonstrated, is still the best way to win a campaign.

Andy Pray, founder, Praytell
Clinton will win. In PR Terms, America will ultimately choose the killer account manager who'll never be a theatrical new business ace but consistently crushes it behind the scenes, galvanizes a team, and gets the job done versus the guy who storms into a brainstorm having not done his homework, screams ideas with no sense of budget or strategy, and then leaves the room, taking credit for the work of the team post facto. Are we a divided nation? You bet. But we're not lobotomized to the point that we'll let that guy run things.

Andrew Ricci, VP, Levick
Former secretary of state, U.S. senator, and first lady Hillary Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States. It won’t be because of enthusiasm, though. Donald Trump’s voters have her matched there. Instead, it will be because of her organization, planning, and the strength of her get-out-the-vote ground game. Trump’s path to victory has been narrow all along, and in the states that matter, she has been laying infrastructure for months to turn out her supporters. All of her public appearances in the past several weeks have been focused on encouraging her supporters to get out and vote early in these key states and her communications strategy has been closely aligned with this crucial field operation. In Nevada, for example, many forecast that her lead there is already insurmountable. In other states with close elections, that can make all the difference, and this year, it will.
 
Steven Weiss, president, Weiss Strategic Communications
I hope, and I believe, Hillary Clinton will win. She used her appearances, allies, and communications machine to beat back criticism and more important, to offer Americans a positive picture of the nation's future and how they would benefit by voting for her. Donald Trump, rather than communicating plans for assuring a bright future for America and its voters, rallied and united his base by making them feel cheated, fearful and angry.  To win the White House, presidential candidates must bind Americans together with stories illuminating shared visions of hope and a brighter future. This was the Trump campaign's largest failure. Fear mongering and attempts to incite hatred by Americans of other Americans is wholly un-American.

The greatest irony here and the biggest lesson for communications professionals: Donald Trump may lose tomorrow because millions of Latino, Muslim, and women voters he vilified –Democrats and Republicans among them—help push Hillary to victory.

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