Dan Judy, October 16

Dan Judy’s comments to The Hill regarding President Trump’s campaigning in the election’s home stretch:

The president’s tendency to return to the topic of Clinton’s emails — he raised the subject during a friendly interview with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh last week — is especially perplexing, even to Republicans.

“He is not running against Hillary Clinton, which is unfortunate for him because she was massively unpopular,” said GOP strategist Dan Judy. “He is doing what he did in 2016, and it worked, but I just don’t see it getting him any extra votes.”

Trump does have more fertile areas to plow. He consistently performs better on the economy than on any other issue. There is a widespread belief, in and beyond Republican circles, that a reelection campaign fought on that territory would give him the strongest chance of success.

The problem, of course, is that even many conservatives don’t believe Trump has the desire or self-discipline to stick with such a message.

“When there is a conspiracy theory about the death of Osama bin Laden you can tweet, why talk about the economy?” Dan Judy asked wryly. “He is not doing himself any favors.”

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Whit Ayres, May 3

Whit Ayres’ comments to Bloomberg News regarding re-opening the economy during the coronavirus pandemic:

“You’re balancing competing values: the importance of the economy and the food chain and the importance of public health,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “You’re making judgment calls with no obvious answers.”

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Whit Ayres, August 14

Whit Ayres’s comments in the Los Angeles Times regarding President Trump’s approach on trade:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said trade and trade agreements were significant factors for voters who switched from backing President Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, especially in the upper Midwest.

“He has certainly elevated the importance of the issue,” Ayres said of China. “Time will tell whether Americans support his proposed solutions.”

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Whit Ayres, July 3

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post on the gap between President Trump’s approval rating and views of the economy:

Yet the president hasn’t enjoyed a similar lift in his numbers. It’s evidence, Republican pollster Whit Ayres says, that voters are “evaluating Trump’s job approval based on his conduct and behavior in office rather than the state of the economy.”

“Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has severed the traditional relationship between economic well being and presidential job approval,” Ayres says. “A more traditional president in this economy would have job approval in the upper 50s, maybe even 60 percent or above.”

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Whit Ayres, June 14

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Daily Caller regarding the President and the economy:

“A normal president with these economic numbers would have job approval somewhere in the vicinity of 60 percent,” according to Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has, at least at this point, severed the traditional relationship between economic well-being and presidential job approval.”

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Whit Ayres, June 6

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Washington Times on President Trump’s reelection prospects:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said the Midwestern states are always competitive, and polls at this point in the 2016 cycle likely showed Mr. Trump in a similar position.

“It’s the economy that’s his ace in the hole. He’s very unlikely to change his basic message regardless of what polls say,” Mr. Ayres said.

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Whit Ayres, May 4

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Los Angeles Times regarding President Trump’s reelection prospects:

Indeed, “a normal president with these economic numbers would have job approval somewhere in the vicinity of 60%,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has, at least at this point, severed the traditional relationship between economic well-being and presidential job approval.”

Currently, an average of just over 4 in 10 Americans approve of Trump’s performance in office, a number that has fluctuated in a very narrow range since early in his presidency.

“That said, a good economy obviously helps a president running for reelection,” Ayres said. “We have to see if it helps Donald Trump as much as it would have helped a traditional president.”

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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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