Whit Ayres, May 13

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal about immigration reform and changing demographics in the United States:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster and strategist, says merely attacking illegal immigration—which is viewed by many Hispanics as an attack on their entire community—isn’t enough for a candidate, and that the GOP’s immigration-reform complacency could be costly in 2016 and beyond.

“The demographics in our country are changing so rapidly—with whites declining and nonwhites increasing about three percentage points each presidential election—that it becomes exceedingly difficult to win a majority of the popular vote just by increasing the share of the white vote going to the Republican candidate,” Mr. Ayres told Forbes last month. Trying to gain a larger share of a shrinking proportion of the electorate is a losing strategy, he added. “It makes far more sense—in 2016 and certainly for elections after that—for Republicans to focus on dramatically increasing their share of the nonwhite vote, especially among Hispanics who are the fastest-growing minority group.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, April 18

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Economist on the demographic challenges facing Republicans at the presidential level:

The idea that a Republican could win without becoming more appealing to minority voters was disproved in 2012. Mitt Romney ran up a record score with non-Hispanic white voters, yet still lost. Both Mr Romney and John McCain, the party’s nominee in 2008, would have been president if they had faced the same (largely lily-white) electorate as Ronald Reagan did in 1980, says Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. And Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic nominee, is unlikely to do as badly with white voters as Mr Obama did.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, Christian Science Monitor Breakfast

Whit Ayres spoke at today’s Christian Science Monitor Sperling breakfast:

While a majority of Americans support gay marriage, nearly three-quarters of Republicans do not, according to Gallup. That’s not true for young Republicans, however. More than 60 percent of Republican voters under 30 do support gay marriage, said Ayers, the founder and president of North Star Opinion Research.

“We’re headed to the point where a political candidate who is perceived as anti-gay at the presidential level will never connect with people under 30 years old,” Ayers said, citing the rapidly changing views on same-sex marriage in America.

That said, gay rights is at the bottom of the list of issues for Republican voters, competing with climate change, he pointed out.

To read the full article, please click here.

Photo Credit: Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor.

Whit Ayres, March 30

Whit Ayres was cited in the New York Times regarding the 2016 presidential contest and the need to appeal to Hispanic voters:

Mr. Bush’s calculus is based in part on the 2012 election: Mitt Romney received 17 percent of the nonwhite vote, meaning that if the next Republican nominee does no better, he or she will have to receive 65 percent of the white vote to win, said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

More significant, their approaches to the primary campaign could also be instructive about how each would attempt to win a general election, and the risks they choose to take.

“One is a populist strategy that doubles down on turning out disaffected white men,” Mr. Lewis said. (An adviser to Mr. Walker did not directly dispute this assessment, suggesting that Mr. Walker would perform well with middle-class voters, whose support for Democratic candidates has dwindled in the last few presidential campaigns and who have strongly supported Mr. Walker in his gubernatorial races.)

“The other is a gamble that conservatism can win in the free market of ideas amongst a diverse and changing 21st-century America,” Mr. Lewis said of Mr. Bush’s approach.

Of course, Republicans may not be strictly bound to an either-or proposition.

Winning back the Great Lakes states could prove as decisive as reclaiming the increasingly diverse states that Mr. Bush is focused on, said Mr. Ayres, the pollster. He said that was an argument for a hybrid candidate who could do both — like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, whom Mr. Ayres expects to work for if he runs for president.

Republicans may ultimately choose such a third way. But if it comes down to Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker, the choice will prove revealing.

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, March 26

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill on the importance of likability in the presidential contest:

“Part of [Ted Cruz’] problem is not being likable to voters, but another part of it is not being likable enough to the people [within the party establishment] whose help you need to get a campaign off the ground,” said GOP consultant Dan Judy. “He is not well-liked by those people. A lot of those people like some Democratic senators more than they like him.”

Judy also pointed out, however, that the absence of natural charm is not necessarily fatal for a politician, and it’s not just a GOP issue.

Clinton, after all, has long struggled in this area, famously being dismissed with a “You’re likable enough, Hillary” comment by then-Sen. Barack Obama during their tumultuous 2008 primary campaign.

Despite that, Clinton is a clearer favorite to become her party’s standard-bearer this time around.

“Connecting with people has never been her strong suit,” Judy said. “You can get better — you can learn to plaster on a smile when you are shaking people’s hands. But, really, it’s something that you either have or you don’t.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, Forbes Magazine

Whit Ayres was interviewed by Forbes to discuss his new book 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America:

In a new book, 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America, veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres argues that given demographic trends, Republicans need to attract more minority voters or face Democrats winning the White House in 2016 and on into the foreseeable future. Ayres is founder and president of North Star Opinion Researchand has consulted for high level Republican candidates and conservative organizations.

To read the interview, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 12

Whit Ayres’ recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “A Daunting Demographic Challenge for the GOP in 2016,” was quoted in the Dallas Morning News:

At the same time, Hillary Clinton seems likely to benefit from the country’s continuing demographic diversification, which prominent Republican analyst Whit Ayres said recently poses a big barrier toward a GOP victory in 2016.

In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney “won every significant white group…often by overwhelming margins,” only to lose the election by 5 million votes because Barack Obama “achieved breathtaking majorities among every other racial group,” Ayres wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

“Unfortunately, for Republicans,” he added, “the math is only going to get worse,” as the proportion of white voters continues declining. Republicans can’t win “unless they nominate a transformational candidate who can dramatically broaden the GOP’s appeal,” he wrote. Calling Clinton “a more attractive candidate than Obama among whites in culturally conservative regions,” he said the former secretary of state could even win with less of the nonwhite vote than John Kerry polled in 2004.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres at AEI, February 24

Whit Ayres spoke about the Demographic challenges facing Republicans at “States of Change,” an AEI/Brookings/CAP event held on February 24.  Whit’s presentation starts at the 3:10:19 mark (where the video below begins).

Dan Judy, March 6

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill regarding Hillary Clinton’s early campaign missteps:

“The question of her political competence is definitely on display,” said Dan Judy of Republican firm North Star Opinion Research … “The thing is, when people talk about the Clintons’ political talent, you think of Bill. She is not Bill. She has been very successful in politics but she is not a very talented politician — and I think that was on display in the 2008 primary, and it has been on display again since the time she left as secretary of State.”

“She’s not a natural. She has the policy expertise but not the political skills,” said Judy. “She’s just not all that great.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 5

Jennifer Rubin interviewed Whit Ayres about his new book, 2016 and Beyond:

Whit Ayres, president of North Star Opinion Research, is among the most respected pollsters in GOP circles. (As a caveat, his firm has two GOP 2016 hopefuls as clients, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina  and Marco Rubio of Florida.) His new book, “2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America,” makes the simple case that a conservative message based on individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and support for families is not and cannot be directed only to white voters. “These values know no ethnic boundaries,” he says in a telephone interview. Republicans cannot win at the national level without recognizing the increasingly diverse electorate. “We need to adopt an inclusive message and an inclusive tone,” he says.

To read the full column, please click here.