Whit Ayres, October 27

Whit Ayres’ comments to CNN regarding Donald Trump and the Hispanic vote:

It’s exactly why Trump’s statements like, “we have some bad hombres here and we’re gonna get them out,” at the final presidential debate have GOP pollster Whit Ayres shaking his head.

“He started off his campaign with his announcement calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. He has run against non-whites his entire campaign, not only against Latinos, but against Muslims and against anybody who wasn’t already a part of the Republican base. That’s no way to win a presidential election,” Ayres said.

He believes Trump would need to win “somewhere north of 40% among Hispanics” to be competitive this year.

“George W. Bush got 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004, which is one of the reasons why he was re-elected,” Ayres said. “But Mitt Romney only got 27% of Hispanic vote in 2012, which is one reason why he lost.”

He points to his party’s so-called autopsy of what went wrong in 2012. The Republican National Committee wrote in its post-mortem report: “If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence.”

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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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You can listen to the podcast here.

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 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 16

Whit Ayres’ comments to Fox News Latino regarding Hispanic support for Republicans nationally:

Veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres said that while Latinos have traditionally preferred the Democratic Party, the Fox News Latino poll highlights a worrisome downward trend for Republicans.

“Party identification [for Latinos] is fully consistent with what we have seen since the demise of the George W. Bush immigration reform proposal in 2007, when Hispanic voter identification went from 49 percent Democrat to 65 percent Democrat,” said Ayres, who wrote a book titled: “2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America,” which says the GOP must get more minorities on its side if it is to remain viable and win back the Oval Office.

“After the 2007 demise of the immigration proposal, Republican Party ID [among Latinos] went from 28 percent, to 26 percent, then 25 percent to 22 percent and in 2014 went to 27 percent. This would mean that Republican ID is at its lowest point” going back more than a decade, Ayres said.

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Whit Ayres, July 8

Whit Ayres’ comments in US News and World Report on Donald Trump’s effect on downballot races and the future of the Republican party:

For the moment that’s raising the prospect of resurgence in a fading voting pattern: “Just because people haven’t split their tickets in recent elections doesn’t mean they can’t spit their tickets,” says Whit Ayres, a veteran GOP pollster who also wrote a book, “2016 and Beyond” on how the GOP can regain the White House. “We are starting to see hints of the greatest amounts of ticket splitting we have seen since the 1980s.” Ayres pointed to a poll his firm conducted for Rep. Robert Dold, an Illinois Republican in a swing district; it had Clinton leading by 16 points and Dold ahead by 7 percentage points. “So there’s a 23 point difference in those numbers … which is a dramatic level of ticket splitting,” Ayres says.

Nominating Trump only throws accelerant on what had been a smoldering fire for the Republican Party. Because you know who Donald Trump specifically does not appeal to? Women (the gender gap is trending toward record-setting this year), nonwhite voters and young voters.

“That’s a serious danger,” says GOP pollster Ayres. “People tend stick the participation identification they adopted when they came of political age.” If Democrats can lock in voting groups whose power is only going to grow, like Latinos and millenials, “it will be exceedingly difficult for Republicans to put together a majority in future elections.”

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Whit Ayres, June 9

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Atlantic regarding Donald Trump’s racially-charged appeals:

“Racially divisive politics ramp up the importance of the changing demographics because it makes it harder to perform credibly among non-white voters, and it also makes it harder for Trump to run up the white numbers he needs because of resistance to that sort of appeal among white college graduates and white women,” said the longtime GOP pollster Whit Ayres.


Jon McHenry, May the Fourth

Jon McHenry’s comments in Politico on the challenges Donald Trump faces in winning a general election:

“I don’t see how he all of a sudden becomes this magnanimous unifier,” said Republican pollster Jon McHenry, whose firm, North Star Opinion Research, polled for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. “Does he get a bump? Probably. But he’s starting from such a low position that this small bump he gets from being the presumptive nominee I don’t think is enough to overcome the demographic challenges or the character challenges that Trump faces.”

McHenry outlined some back-of-the-envelope math, starting with a number of assumptions, to outline Trump’s uphill path. First, he assumed three-in-10 voters this fall are non-white – a modest increase from 28 percent in 2012, according to exit polls. He then gave Trump a vote share of 10 percentage points greater than his average favorable rating for a number of demographic groups.

If Trump’s vote share among white women was 50 percent, McHenry said – which would be down from Romney’s 56 percent four years ago – that would mean Trump would have to win about 85 percent of white men to win, an astounding percentage and dramatically better than Romney’s 62-percent share.

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Whit Ayres, May the Fourth

Whit Ayres’ comments to ABC News regarding the challenges a Trump candidacy faces in the fall:

Some Republicans acknowledge the steep curve for Trump, who edged closer to clinching the nomination after winning Indiana on Tuesday.

“The guy is hated and detested by an extraordinary amount of the American electorate,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster who worked on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

“It’s not just one group that detests him,” Ayres said, alluding to Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and his incendiary comments about women. “He has been on a concerted effort to make enemies of millions of Americans.”

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Whit Ayres, October 28

Whit Ayres’ book 2016 and Beyond was featured in Jason Riley’s Wall Street Journal column:

In his book, “2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres notes that when Mr. Romney won 59% of non-Hispanic white voters in 2012, it was the “highest percentage of the white vote of any Republican candidate challenging an incumbent president in the history of exit polling, surpassing even Ronald Reagan’s percentage among whites in his 1980 victory over Jimmy Carter.”

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