Whit Ayres, June 23

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding coronavirus and health care policy:

“It certainly increases the pressure for some sort of minimal health care coverage that everyone can count on,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

To read the full article, please click here.

Health Data Privacy

In January, our firm conducted a national online survey of voters for the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, focusing on voter attitudes toward health care generally and privacy of health care data specifically. In some ways, January was a lifetime ago. For that very reason, however, the results set a baseline of attitudes regarding health care data.

First, the results show that, even before most voters had heard of coronavirus or thought about a global pandemic, health care was the top issue tested despite the survey being conducted the week of missiles being fired in the Middle East. Overall 80 percent of voters said health care cost and access was the single most important (28 percent) or a very important (52 percent) issue, surpassing jobs and the economy (79 percent, including 23 percent single most important) and national security (76 percent, including 24 percent single most important).

At that time, voters were not particularly focused on privacy, with just 58 percent saying they remembered signing a HIPAA form at a doctor’s office. Among that subgroup, just 22 percent said they paid a great deal of attention to the form, while 43 percent paid some attention, 24 percent paid not much attention, and 12 percent paid no attention at all. Voters did care about access to their personal health information through a smartphone or computer, with 33 percent saying it was very important and 40 percent saying it was somewhat important; that was particularly important for voters 18 to 34 (44 percent very important and 39 percent somewhat important).

Voters in January were notably more concerned about their financial information being stolen (40 percent very concerned) or their purchase history and credit card information from an online retailer (37 percent) than about their health records (27 percent), which was on a par with personal data and posts on social media (28 percent).

Particularly relevant now, in Particularly relevant now, in light of Apple and Google’s joint announcement that they would develop software to help trace the spread of the coronavirus, is that 81 percent of voters said technology companies should not have access to personal health care information. In fact, a majority of voters (58 percent) said medical researchers should not have that access, putting these responses potentially in conflict with the efforts to combat a global pandemic. How the medical community, governments, and tech companies address this tension will go a long way toward charting a course to conquering coronavirus.

Whit Ayres, March 11

Whit Ayres’ comments to Time on the potential political effects of COVID-19:

What’s clear is that a President who has been in permanent campaign mode since the first day of his term is keenly aware of the stakes. “What we know is from natural disasters is the way a political leader handles a disaster can make or break a campaign,” says Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster at North Star Opinion Research. “Focus on the performance and the poll numbers will take care of themselves.” Trump’s performance is still unfolding, but one thing he knows for certain is that voters are watching.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 9

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding Republicans and health care:

“Health care is such a significant part of our economy and the challenges are growing so great with the retirement of the baby boomers and the disruption brought about by ObamaCare that you can’t just cede a critically important issue to the other side,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

“Republicans need a positive vision about what should happen to lower costs, expand access and protect pre-existing conditions,” he added. “You’ve got to be able to answer the question, ‘So what do you think we should do about health care?’”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, May 6

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill regarding the need to sell the American Health Care Act:

Some Republicans more skeptical of Trump warn that everything is still to play for, however.

“Whenever you make a change this big, you need somebody who can make the rationale for it, who can convince the public to be patient and give it time to work,” said GOP strategist Dan Judy, whose firm North Star Opinion Research worked for Trump rival Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) in last year’s Republican presidential primary.

“Donald Trump has always talked about what a great salesman he is. Now is the time to prove it.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 26

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Financial Times regarding the politics of Obamacare rate increases:

Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist, said Monday’s forecast that Obamacare premiums were set to jump was “a gift to any Republican nominee”.

“It [confirms] what Republicans have said for six years now. Basically what’s happening is what Republicans have predicted ever since before this thing was passed,” he said.

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But he added that Mr Trump had consistently passed up opportunities to zero in on traditional Republican policy issues, such as healthcare, instead allowing himself to be drawn into unhelpful debates over his character and behaviour.

“A normal Republican candidate could take this gift and run with it and really make it an advantage going into the final two weeks of the election. But Trump has shown absolutely no ability to do that with any other issue so I don’t know why he would start that now.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres on NPR, October 3

Whit Ayres’ comments on our joint Resurgent Republic/Democracy Corps poll for NPR:

The poll concentrated on the Senate battleground — the 12 states that will determine control of the Senate next year. It found an electorate where nobody likes anybody. The president, the Republicans and the Democrats were viewed with equal disgust — their favorability ratings all in the low 40s. This is a disgruntled group of voters, says Ayres, which this year happens to be good news for his party.

“The direction of the country is overwhelmingly perceived to be in the wrong direction. Barack Obama is exceedingly unpopular in the Senate battlegrounds,” he says. “The generic party preference for a Senate candidate favors the Republicans by three points. So the playing field still tilts strongly to Republicans in these 12 battleground states.”

To read the full article, please click here.

To hear the audio, please click below:

Whit Ayres, October 3

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Boston Globe on ObamaCare as an issue in this year’s elections:

Not so fast, retorts GOP pollster Whit Ayres: The ACA is still a hot issue where it really matters this year, which is in the dozen states with tight Senate races.

“The health care law is one of the top issues for Republicans and independents, and trust me, they are not in support,” says Ayres, who with Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg has just completed a survey for National Public Radio of those states. Among all voters in those states, the economy, at 55 percent, is the biggest issue driving voters, with the ACA next, at 36 percent, followed by foreign policy and the Islamic State, at 33 percent, he says.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, April 1

Whit Ayres’ comments for CNN regarding ObamaCare and the midterm elections:

Republican pollster Whit Ayers said there’s a more powerful factor in voter fatigue: Obama himself.

Six years into a President’s term, “people get tired of that person’s leadership,” he said. “Especially this President’s.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, November 15

Dan Judy’s comments on Obamacare and the President’s approval rating, for US News and World Report:

Republican pollster Dan Judy, who has done polling for the NRCC, says that with Obama’s approval plummeting, “things are looking grim for House Democrats.”

“Obamacare is likely to be an even bigger campaign issue than it was in 2010 when the Republicans used it to devastating effect against Democratic incumbents,” Judy says. “It’s gotten Republicans re-energized and Democrats demoralized, which is exactly the opposite of what the Democrats need to have a chance next year.”

For the full article, please click here.