Whit Ayres, October 30

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Hartford Courant on gubernatorial candidates running against the partisan tide:

Whit Ayres, a Republican political consultant and pollster based in Washington, D.C., said, “Republicans in blue states need to have a center-right rudder to guide their decision-making, but they cannot be overtly ideological or overtly partisan.

“Doing so is the kiss of death for a candidate running from a minority party in any state,” Ayres said, saying that candidates should instead focus their vision “on essentially bipartisan issues like education, getting the economy going, enhancing the health care system.”

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Jon McHenry, October 17

Jon McHenry’s comments on the political effect of President Obama’s Ebola response in the Washington Times:

“It’s pretty clear that the best politics is to do a travel ban,” said Jon McHenry, vice president of North Star Opinion Research in Alexandria, Virginia. “In that sense, the president, regardless of what’s going on behind scenes, seems to be detached and inactive on another situation that people care about. This is yet another case that seems to show a lack of leadership on his part.”

The Ebola infections and the CDC’s missteps are keeping the news story alive and making it difficult for Democratic candidates to talk about topics other than the administration’s apparent incompetence, Mr. McHenry said.

“It’s another issue on which Democrats are having to defend the president or turn around and attack the country’s response on this,” he said. “At a time when they want to be talking about almost anything else, they’re talking about the administration again.”

He added, “It reinforces a pattern of what people believe that they’re seeing — a lack of leadership, a lack of engagement. Whether it’s being slow to react in Ukraine, slow to react in Syria with [the Islamic State], he charitably has a very deliberate approach but, being less charitable, seems to not put the sense of urgency on issues that voters want him to have.”

How the crisis plays out politically might well depend on whether any more cases of Ebola surface in the U.S., Mr. McHenry said.

“If someone in Ohio winds up getting this, then it’s going to look like a pandemic to the public,” he said. “I’m sure more people are going to die from the flu this year [in the U.S.] than from Ebola, but the news media has a fresh story to run with every day, there’s a new facet to it every day.”

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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.”

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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.

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Whit Ayres, August 22

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal regarding Republican pickup opportunities in the U.S. Senate this cycle:

Perhaps the toughest challenges for the GOP are in red states where incumbents are fighting battles they have long expected. They include Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who are all scions of established political families in their home states.

“All three are running incredible campaigns,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who remained bullish about GOP prospects. Getting elected as Democrats in those states “is not an inconsiderable advantage and not one to be underestimated.”

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Whit Ayres, August 21

Whit Ayres’ comments for Fox News Latino on Rick Perry’s indictment and presidential bid:

Whit Ayers, a Republican pollster in Washington, D.C., said the subtext of a liberal area’s indictment of conservative Republican stands to give Perry a boost, should he decide to run for president in 2016.

The Democrats pushing the case against Perry, Ayers said, “are trying to criminalize political disagreements.”

“This is a trumped up indictment,” Ayers said. “It’s such an obvious and blatant abuse of prosecutorial discretion, it may be the best thing that’s happened to Rick Perry.”

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Whit Ayres, August 7

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding outside groups in Senate races:

“Money is necessary but not sufficient for political success,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster and strategist. “The record is replete with candidates who have outspent their opponents and still lost.”

Ayres said the effectiveness of advertising by outside groups depends largely on the type of group that does the advocacy and quality of the ad. The National Rifle Association, for instance, has a much more loyal following than some of the super-PACs with generic-sounding names that have sprung up in recent years.

As much as outside groups will spend this cycle, Ayres predicted other factors would have a bigger impact on deciding control of the Senate.

He said President Obama’s job-approval rating, the political leanings of the Senate battlegrounds themselves and the demographics of the voters who show up to the polls on Election Day would be the top three factors.

To read the full article, please click here.

Resurgent Republic/Democracy Corps NPR Survey

Our survey with GQRR for NPR was featured on today’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and highlights the tough road ahead for Democrats in swing Senate seats.

To read the article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, June 12

Jon McHenry’s comments on Republican primaries and immigration reform for Fox News Latino:

“Lindsey Graham was able to talk about what the Senate bill actually does,” said Jon McHenry of the Republican pollster Northstar Opinion Research. “He took it out of the context of just amnesty.”

“People who run successfully in support of immigration reform say it’s not amnesty, its securing our border, and they talk about what do we do with the undocumented immigrants who live in our country.”

Last month, Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina beat a conservative challenge in the GOP primary that also sought to portray her as an amnesty-loving weakling on immigration.

“Renee Ellmers had a tough primary, her race was all about immigration,” McHenry said. “And she successfully fought on that issue, she spoke about what she was for instead of letting it be defined for her.”

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Whit Ayres, June 12

Whit Ayres’ comments on immigration reform and Republican primary voters in Politico:

Pollsters at the briefing, however, say their surveys didn’t find any evidence of greater intensity among immigration reform opponents. And Whit Ayres, one of the pollsters, said Graham was a better test case of how immigration reform plays in a GOP primary — as was Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, who won her primary easily despite attacks on her support for immigration reform.

“Let’s not get caught up in the news of yesterday,” Ayres said. “There is a pattern of candidates who support these proposals prevailing in Republican primaries.”

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