Whit Ayres, June 4

Whit Ayres’ comments to National Public Radio regarding the GOP and declining Christian identification in the electorate:

This makes religion one key part of a looming, long-term demographic challenge for Republicans, says Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

“Republicans clearly have a stronger hold among the religiously affiliated, especially evangelical Protestants. And consequently, any decline in evangelical Protestant affiliation is not good news for the GOP,” he said.

The upshot, to Ayres, is that a party still deeply entwined with conservative Christianity and, particularly, white evangelicals will eventually have to win over more Christian conservatives — for example, among the growing Hispanic electorate — or make gains among substantially less-religious groups, like young voters.

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Whit Ayres, May 13

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Wall Street Journal regarding House Republicans voting to remove Liz Cheney from party leadership:

Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster based in Alexandria, Va., argued that if the GOP wants to rally a majority of the electorate behind its agenda, the party can’t afford for its base to contract.

“The GOP has lost tens of thousands of suburban voters over the last two election cycles, many of them college-educated women,” Mr. Ayres said. “Those suburban women left the party for a reason, and this move [against Ms. Cheney] reminds them of the reason why.”

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Whit Ayres, May 10

Whit Ayres’ comments to NBC News regarding the efforts to remove Liz Cheney from House Republican leadership:

“Removing Liz Cheney from leadership will give a boatload of ammunition to the GOP’s critics,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

Republicans plan to remove Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, the No. 3 position in House GOP leadership, in a move to demote the highest-ranking Republican who voted to impeach Trump early this year. She has vocally criticized Trump’s”big lie” that the election last year was stolen.

Ayers warned that efforts to exile Cheney — the highest-ranking Republican woman in Washington and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — could further antagonize suburban voters, particularly college-educated women, who ditched the party because of their opposition to Trump.

“They will also say there’s no room in today’s Republican Party for anyone willing to be honest about the 2020 election and the events of Jan. 6,” Ayres said. “That does not strike me as the best way to get back the suburban voters who’ve left the party in the last few years.”

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2020 Post-Election Presentation

Dan Judy, April 8

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill on changes in the Republican Party:

GOP strategist Dan Judy took a milder tack but shared the same broad concerns, noting how far the GOP has moved over the past 10 years.

“Two things are interesting — one is the new people who have been elected, but the other thing is the way formerly ‘establishment’ Republicans have moved toward the populist ideology,” he said. “The net effect of all that is to move the party away from a more establishment mindset, and toward a more populist mindset.”

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Whit Ayres, March 4

Whit Ayres in The New York Times on the Republican Party and working-class voters:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster whose clients have included Mr. Rubio, was critical of Democrats for not seeking a compromise on the stimulus after a group of G.O.P. senators offered a smaller package. “Seven Republican senators voted to convict a president of their own party,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump’s impeachment. “If you can’t get any of them on a Covid program, you’re not trying real hard.”

As the Covid-19 relief package, which every House Republican voted down, makes its way through the Senate this week, Republicans are expected to offer further proposals aimed at struggling Americans.

Mr. Ayres said that the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., last weekend, the first major party gathering since Mr. Trump left office, had been a spectacularly missed opportunity in its failure to include meaningful discussion of policies for blue-collar voters. Instead, the former president advanced an intraparty civil war by naming in his speech on Sunday a hit list of every Republican who voted to impeach him.

“You’d better be spending a lot more time developing an economic agenda that benefits working people than re-litigating a lost presidential election,” Mr. Ayres said. “The question is, how long will it take the Republicans to figure out that driving out heretics rather than winning new converts is a losing strategy right now?”

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Whit Ayres, February 26

Whit Ayres’ comments in Bloomberg about a failure of bipartisanship:

“Seven Republican senators just voted to convict a president of their own party of impeachable offenses — if you can’t get a single one of those Republicans, you are not trying,” said Whit Ayres, a longtime Republican pollster, referring to Trump’s impeachment trial this month. “They will need Republican support for future initiatives. Why stiff them coming out of the gate?”

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Whit Ayres, February 14

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding Republican senators voting to convict President Trump of impeachment charges:

“Two are retiring, and three are not up until 2026, and who knows what the world will look like five years from now,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster. “It looked pretty different five years ago than it did today. All seven of them have a measure of independence that those who have to run in 2022 in a closed Republican primary just don’t have.”

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Whit Ayres, February 3 LA Times

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Los Angeles Times about GOP factions:

The main battlefield in the war is likely to become the ballot box, veteran Republican strategist Whit Ayres told me.

“The party is split between a governing faction and a populist faction,” he said. “The populist faction was there before Trump. They aren’t going away. They’ve become a dominant force in Republican primaries. They aren’t dominant among elected officials — but they may be, eventually, if they succeed in winning elections.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be resolved by 2022,” Ayres added. “It’s going to take until at least 2024. You’re going to have to go through a presidential cycle.”

“The question is: Do we continue to nominate crazy right-wing populists who go on to lose the general election?” said Ayres, who has advised Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

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Whit Ayres, February 3

Whit Ayres’ comments in Newsweek about GOP in-fighting:

Whit Ayres, a longstanding GOP pollster and North Star Opinion Research founder, took a similar view. The political consultant said it remained to be seen whether the Republican Party would still be a “viable political force” or make the fatal decision to split into two separate entities.

Asked for his view of the party’s makeup, Ayres said Trump had successfully expanded the populist wing of the GOP and built it to be the new “dominant force” in the party. Ayres cautioned that all was not over for the so-called “governing” faction.

Speaking about the battle between Cheney and the Trumpian faction on Capitol Hill, the pollster said: “It’s a small skirmish in the larger war. It’s a skirmish that, at this point, is confined to the House of Representatives’ Republican caucus”

“Just because you have a faction dominating the House caucus does not mean it’s dominating the entire party.”

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