Whit Ayres, July 31

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Hill regarding strong economic growth and the midterm elections:

GOP strategist Whit Ayres highlighted the most recent, bullish data on employment and economic growth and praised Trump for having sought to make the most of that news.

“It would be helpful if the president continues to pound that message, and it would make it far easier for down-ballot Republicans to win reelection or for candidates for open seats to win election,” Ayres said.

“We have a very good story to tell, but it is difficult to tell that story if it is constantly obscured by the latest controversy,” he continued.

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Whit Ayres, July 27

Whit Ayres’s comments to the Associated Press on President Trump, presidential job approval, and the midterm elections:

“Donald Trump is a non-traditional president and he has severed the traditional tie between economic well-being and presidential job approval,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant and pollster.

“People are not evaluating Donald Trump based on the state of the economy,” he added. “They’re evaluating him based on his conduct and behavior in office. It appeals to Republicans and doesn’t appeal to independents and Democrats. And no change in the economy will alter his job approval so long as that relationship changes.”

The president’s approval rating is of significant concern to his party: Largely because of Trump, Republicans face even more threatening political headwinds than is typical for the party in power as they head into November’s midterm elections.
For nearly his entire presidency, Trump’s approval rating hasn’t fluctuated much outside a six-point range between 38 percent and 44 percent. It was 41 percent on Friday, according to the average of polling data by FiveThirtyEight, a web site of statistical analyses, as the president stood on the South Lawn and credited Republicans’ tax cuts and his regulatory rollbacks and tariffs for “an economic turnaround of historic proportions.”

“If he did a lot more of what he did this morning in touting the strong economy, it would make it easier for Republican down-ballot candidates to win re-election or to be elected to open seats,” Ayres said. “There is a very good story to tell. But it’s hard to tell that story if the news is being drowned out by the latest controversy.”

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Whit Ayres, February 1

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post on Nancy Pelosi’s dismissal of tax reform benefits:

Even many Democrats cringed privately at her “crumbs” comment, which they worry distracts from their larger argument over the fairness of GOP economic policies. And of course, any metaphor that involves baked goods easily lends itself to the Marie Antoinette caricature that Republicans have drawn of Pelosi.

“It sounds like something a wealthy woman from San Francisco would say,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

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Jon McHenry, January 26

Jon McHenry’s comments to The World Weekly on the economy and Republican prospects in the fall:

Republican leaders plan to campaign on economic successes. The US economy has surged in recent months, with GDP up 3.2% in the third quarter of 2017 and unemployment down to 4.1%. Messaging will particularly focus on the Republican tax plan, stressing the tax cuts for the middle class set to start next month – one Republican dubbed it the “Great American Comeback.” “While many Republican accomplishments appeal to the conservative base, more money in people’s pockets appeals to everyone,” says Jon McHenry, Republican pollster, to TWW.

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Jon McHenry, August 16

Jon McHenry’s comments in The Hill regarding tax reform messaging:

GOP lawmakers and the Trump administration often spend a considerable amount of time discussing how tax reform will boost economic growth and business competitiveness.

Strategists suggested that it’s important for Republicans to explain how more economic growth directly affects them, and some argued that lawmakers should cut to the chase and lead their tax-reform pitches with arguments about more jobs and more take-home income.

“The most important thing is to keep it on the day-to-day things that people are focused on, which in this case is jobs,” said Jon McHenry, vice president of the GOP polling firm North Star Opinion Research.

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Whit Ayres, March 5

Whit Ayres’ comments on Republican economic messages in Politico:

That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to nationalize the election with one agenda, like House Republicans’ “Contract With America” in 1994 or their “Pledge to America” in 2010. But Republican candidates should at least have their own economic alternatives, said GOP pollster Whit Ayres: “What would you do differently? What’s your plan?”

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Whit Ayres, Time, January 7

Whit Ayres’ comments for Time on the Republican approach to addressing poverty:

While both parties bemoan many of the same symptoms, they hardly agree on the disease, let alone the medicine. Democrats focus on income inequality: the gap between the nation’s highest and lowest earners is at its greatest level since the Roaring Twenties. Republicans, on the other hand, emphasize social mobility: the declining ease with which Americans can rise from the middle class to the top wage bracket. That makes the coming push less about policy as it is about election-year politics.

“While they may be using some of the same words, their perspectives are entirely different,” GOP pollster Whit Ayers said of the divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue. “And that leads to fundamentally different conclusions.”

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Jon McHenry, May 20

Jon McHenry’s comments in the Washington Post regarding Congress and the economy:

“When you’ve got Republicans saying government is doing too much and needs to get out of the way of business, and Democrats saying government needs to step in and do more to help people out, it becomes pretty hard to bridge that economic gap,” said Jon McHenry, vice president of North Star Opinion Research, a Republican firm that polls for clients including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

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Whit Ayres, February 6

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post regarding Republican messaging on fiscal issues:

“It’s challenging to talk about budgets in a way that resonates with average folks,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

Although most Americans believe that deficits and debt represent a threat to the country’s future, Ayres added, “the challenge is figuring out how to say that in a way that is palatable. Fundamentally, prosperity beats austerity as a message.”

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Whit Ayres, November 2

Whit Ayres’ comments on the unemployment report in USA Today:

But the Labor Department report that once was seen as a potential “October surprise” — that is, the sort of late-breaking news that could dramatically shift votes — is instead one more sign that a slow but relatively steady economic recovery is continuing.

“It’s not too late to matter, particular if it’s a marked departure in one direction or the other than what we’ve seen before,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres said before the report was released. “If we think back to 1980, we thought the election was set, and then we had the one-year anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis, which reminded everyone of their frustration” with that crisis. “If we have a bad jobs report, it will remind everyone of their enormous frustration with Obama’s inability to get this economy going.”

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