Whit Ayres, September 26

Whit Ayres’ comments in the International Business Times regarding whether the debates affect the election:

“Historically, the debates have not overcome the fundamentals of the election,” Republican analyst Whit Ayers told CNN. “That said, there have been debate moments that we can all remember that have galvanized the election and have led to one candidate doing substantially better.”

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Whit Ayres on CNN’s Party People Podcast

Whit Ayres joined Mary Katherine Ham and Kevin Madden on their Party People podcast to discuss Republican efforts to appeal beyond the base.

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Jon McHenry, September 5

Jon McHenry’s comments in The Boston Globe regarding Hillary Clinton’s performance on the campaign trail:

Not everyone is giving her high marks.

“I don’t think she’s doing a whole lot better,” said Jon McHenry, a Republican pollster and strategist who worked on Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, noting that everyone gets a little better with practice. “Mostly what she is is not Donald Trump. There’s so much attention on him every day. Even when she’s drowning in e-mail scandals, he’s not content to let her drown.”

Leaving the awkwardness of the primary behind seemed to help loosen Clinton up. There’s a natural tension in a primary battle when some of a candidate’s natural allies pick the other side, and a candidate must attack — but not too harshly — his or her teammates.

Clinton seemed to feel the discomfort acutely; one close aide said Clinton’s new self-assurance started in early June, when she had effectively clinched the nomination, in part because she was “excited to stop dancing on the head of a pin.”

McHenry, the GOP strategist, said Clinton overreached during the primary, trying to bend over backward to appeal to Democratic rival Bernie Sanders’ base of passionate progressives. Clinton does better with her general election approach, he said, of playing toward the middle and focusing on policy rather than emphasizing ideology.

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Whit Ayres, September 3

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press regarding Republicans running as a check-and-balance on Hillary Clinton:

“If they do it deftly, it’s not risky. You don’t go out trashing anyone,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres. Instead, Republicans should just say, “‘We’re going to need a Senate and House that’s a check on whoever’s president,’ given the unpopularity of the two major nominees.”

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Whit Ayres, September 1

Whit Ayres’ comments to The Fiscal Times on Donald Trump’s immigration speech:

Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster and political adviser who backed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida during the GOP presidential primaries, said that it may now be impossible for Trump to piece together a winning coalition in November, even while the polls show him closing in on Clinton.

“He went back to square one, where his uncompromising tone on immigrants and illegal immigration is locked in even more so than before,” Ayres said in an interview today. “That’s going to make it virtually impossible to expand his Hispanic support. Consequently, it will also make it difficult for him to expand his vote among African Americans, Asians, and other non-white minorities.”

Related: Is Trump Dumping His Plan to Deport 11 Million Illegal Immigrants?

“He spent the entire time in his Phoenix speech preaching to the converted,” Ayres added.

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Whit Ayres, August 26

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press on voter attitudes regarding immigration reform:

“The electorate is conflicted and that’s a fundamental problem,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “This is such an emotional issue that reason and facts have very little to do with how people stand.” …

Ayres recalled a focus group in the Deep South during which conservative voters complained about illegal immigrants. One man said he wanted them to pay taxes, work and learn English. Ayres told the man that was precisely the bipartisan proposal that had passed the Senate in 2013 and was being held up in the Republican-controlled House. “But that’s amnesty,” the man responded. “I don’t support that.”

“That’s when I turned around and cracked my head against the wall,” Ayres said.

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Whit Ayres, August 25

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding Donald Trump’s approach to immigration:

“He finally figured out that you can’t win a national election with just white voters,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who worked for Mr. Rubio’s campaign.

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Whit Ayres, August 21

Whit Ayres’ comments to The Fiscal Times on the political impact of the Zika virus spread in Florida:

Whit Ayres, a veteran GOP pollster who advised Rubio during his presidential bid, believes that voters will be far more discerning in assessing blame in the election.

“It depends on what Republican and what they’ve done about it, and whether or not they’ve made a serious effort to try to address it,” Ayres said in an interview. He stressed that Rubio has been a leader in the fight for funding for Zika treatment in Florida.

“I don’t buy this argument that, okay, there’s a public health crisis and now they’re going to take it out on one party rather than the other when both parties are part of the problem of not moving off this issue,” he said. “People are going to make individual judgments about individual candidates.”

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Whit Ayres, August 19

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding demographics and Donald Trump’s campaign:

“If you set out to design a strategy to produce the lowest popular vote possible in the new American electorate of 2016, you would be hard-pressed to do a better job than Donald Trump has,” said Whit Ayres, a pollster who has advised Republican presidential and Senate candidates for more than 25 years. “This is an electoral disaster waiting to happen.”

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Whit Ayres, August 17

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Boston Globe regarding the “social media slap fight” between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren:

During their exchanges, it didn’t matter what Trump thumb-typed in answer to Warren’s taunts: Each time Trump responded was a win for Warren, said Whit Ayres, a Republican political strategist and pollster who worked for Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

“One of the basics of Politics 101 is you fight with the candidates who are your opponents, not those who are not,” Ayres said, in a Globe interview. “There’s no cost to Warren in doing this; the cost is to Trump, when he gets baited into reacting to someone who’s not on the ballot against him.”

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