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Political Climate

Whit Ayres, March 3 (AP)

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press regarding Joe Biden’s approval rating:

So the president spent the evening essentially asking for a fresh start, born of the most serious conflict with Russia in a generation, and another chance to explain his domestic agenda. “He’s got his back to the wall, and he’s put his party’s back against the wall,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster.

To read the whole article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 3

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post about Joe Biden’s approach on Ukraine:

“Like President George H.W. Bush, who quietly but persistently rallied allies to support reversing Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres told me. “President Biden’s quiet diplomacy has been effective in rallying the West against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But Biden will probably not get the credit Bush did because American troops are not directly involved in Ukraine.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 18

Whit Ayres’ comments to NBC News regarding the effect of foreign policy decisions on elections:

“As a general rule, foreign policy events that do not involve American kids dying in a war pale in comparison to domestic issues,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “As long as Americans are not dying — as they were in Iraq in 2006 [when then-President George W. Bush’s Republican Party lost seats in both the House and the Senate] — foreign policy does not normally drive electoral outcomes.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 7

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times on Dr. Anthony Fauci:

“Populism is essentially anti: anti-establishment, anti-expertise, anti-intellectual and anti-media,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist, adding that Dr. Fauci “is an establishment expert intellectual who is in the media.”

The anti-Fauci fervor has taken its toll on his personal life; he has received death threats, his family has been harassed and his home in Washington is guarded by a security detail. His standing with the public has also suffered. In a recent NBC News Poll, just 40 percent of respondents said they trusted Dr. Fauci, down from 60 percent in April 2020.

Still, Mr. Ayres said, Dr. Fauci remains for many Americans “one of the most trusted voices regarding the pandemic.” In a Gallup pollat the end of 2021, his job approval rating was 52 percent. On a list of 10 officials, including Mr. Biden and congressional leaders, only two scored higher: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Jerome H. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Republican strategists are split on whether attacking Dr. Fauci is a smart strategy. Mr. Ayres said it could help rev up the base in a primary but backfire in a general election, especially in a swing state like Ohio. But John Feehery, another strategist, said many pandemic-weary Americans viewed Dr. Fauci as “Mr. Lockdown,” and it made sense for Republicans “to run against both Fauci and lockdowns.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, January 6

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill regarding President Trump’s cancelled January 6 press conference:

GOP strategist Dan Judy, who is aligned with the more moderate wing of the party, said, “When I heard it was canceled, I was like, ‘Thank God.’ Everyone could have predicted it would have been this totally revisionist view of what happened on Jan. 6.

“That would have been repugnant on its face, and it would also have been horrible for Republican candidates in the midterms, who have the wind at their backs and do not need this kind of ‘Rah-rah, Jan. 6!’ kind of talk.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 5

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times on Donald Trump and his effect on the 2022 elections:

Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster, said that Mr. Trump’s backing was powerful in primaries, but a “very, very mixed blessing” in swing districts.

“It’s pretty clear that candidates who want to be competitive in the general election are being careful how close they get to him during primaries,” he said. He pointed to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin of Virginia as having offered a “classic example” of the type of balancing act necessary.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, December 6

Whit Ayres’ comments in USA Today about the late Senator Bob Dole:

“He was one of the greatest of the greatest generation,” said Whit Ayres, a longtime Republican consultant.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 4

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Atlantic regarding the nationalization of state and local elections:

“We’ve had increasing nationalization of our politics in an almost straight line for the past 25 years,” Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster based in Virginia, told me. “You used to say all politics is local. That seems like an anachronistic statement today. The polarization and the partisanship is driven down the ballot in a way that you never saw in the 1980s and 1990s. Now you have state legislative races that are being nationalized.”

To read the full article, please click here (paywall, but with some free articles each month).

Whit Ayres, October 27

Whit Ayres’ comments to Yahoo News regarding President Biden’s job approval ratings:

For Republican pollster Whit Ayres, the social welfare and climate package alone would also not restore Biden’s approval because the drop was caused by multiple factors.

Ayres, the president of North Star Opinion Research, listed the COVID-19 pandemic, a sluggish post-lockdown economy, the “unresolved” illegal migrant situation at the southern border, and the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “fiasco” as other explanations for Biden’s polling dip.

“The ultimate problem is that he presented himself as someone who is competent at the job and knows how the system works, and the system doesn’t seem to be working,” he said.

But Ayres agreed with Democratic strategists who told the Washington Examiner the spending measure disarray would not irrevocably damage Biden’s presidency if the party eventually brokered an accord. If not, it could create “a huge headwind” for Democrats before the 2022 midterm elections, he warned.

“The president’s job approval is one of the best predictors of his party’s performance in the midterms. And if Biden’s approval stays down in the low forties, that’s a real problem for other Democratic candidates next year,” he said. “A president at 60% job approval has a lot more political juice than one at 40%.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 22

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Associated Press about the popularity of legislative proposals and the effect on midterm elections:

To Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, “the popularity of particular policies has been overwhelmed by the power of partisanship and polarization.”

To read the full article, please click here.