Governor Halsam Candidacy for RGA Chair

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico on Governor Bill Haslam’s candidacy for chairman of the RGA:

Whit Ayres, the national GOP pollster who advises Haslam, said the governor would be an “inspired” choice for the RGA, allowing that he’d represent a significant stylistic shift from his more pugilistic predecessors.

“He is the most modest major political figure I’ve ever worked with in my life,” Ayres said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a governor anywhere in the country who is more popular than Bill Haslam. I mean, who has job approval ratings in the 70s these days, in this cynical age?”

To read the full article about Governor Haslam, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 17

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal regarding Governor Chris Christie and the Keystone XL pipeline:

Any successful 2016 Republican candidate for president will need to show their support for the pipeline, said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. Pushing other ideas to expand U.S. energy investments could help to distinguish Mr. Christie from the rest of the pack, he said. “It’s a great issue for Republicans. It’s a great issue for anyone who wants to see economic growth.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 13

Whit Ayres’ quoted by msnbc on potential executive action on immigration:

“[Executive action] undercuts supporters of immigration reform and emboldens the opponents,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who has advocated passing reform to help the GOP win back Latinos, told msnbc. “It’s going to come across as an illegitimate and crassly political move by a desperate president.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 4

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal on the final weeks of the election:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, said the late-in-the-game focus on Ebola and Islamic State added to a growing body of evidence that “the administration is in over its head.”

While these issues didn’t decide the election, they sucked up a lot of oxygen, making it difficult for Democrats to find traction talking about other topics, he said.

“When people are dying in a pandemic in Africa and innocent people are getting their heads chopped off in the Middle East, raising the minimum wage pales in comparison,” Mr. Ayres said, referring to a central policy proposal from Democratic candidates.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 1

Whit Ayres shared his thoughts on the likelihood of Republicans gaining control of the Senate on the Journal Editorial Report:

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.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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.”

For the full article, please click here.

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.”

To read the full article, please click here.

To hear the audio, please click below:

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

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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