Whit Ayres, November 17

Whit Ayres’ comments to The New Statesman regarding ticket splitting:

That leads into the second possibility, which is that Republicans did as well as they did in Congress because they wanted a check on Biden and the more progressive wing of the Democrats. “There were a number of voters who apparently voted for Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, but Republican candidates for House and Senate seats,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster at North Star Opinion Research, in the “hope that Republicans would be a moderating force on Biden”.

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Dan Judy, November 9

Dan Judy’s comments to The Hill on perceptions of the presidential contest:

Biden’s victory did not come with coattails. Republicans will hold their Senate majority unless Democrats can win two runoff elections in Georgia in January. The GOP has gained seats in the House.

“I have to say I was surprised by how well he did,” Republican strategist Dan Judy said of Trump. “He got more votes — not just in raw votes but in percentage terms — than he did four years ago. Given that he has been a historically unpopular president, that is pretty surprising.”

At the same time, Judy cautioned against giving too much credit to Trump’s performance. 

He noted the scale of his popular vote defeat and emphasized, as did other sources, how public perception of the election’s message might have been very different had the exact same results been delivered more quickly.

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Dan Judy, November 5

Dan Judy’s comments to Talking Points Memo regarding the Georgia runoff contests:

Another factor adding uncertainty to the runoffs is the lack of a top of the ticket. Whichever way the presidential election goes, neither Biden nor Trump will be providing any coattails in January. 

A potential Biden victory would give an edge to the GOP, according to Dan Judy, Vice President of North Star Opinion Research, a consultancy for Republican candidates. Republicans who don’t like Trump will be freed up to vote for a Republican candidate without him on the ballot or in the White House, Judy posited. 

“I’d say that both Democratic candidates certainly have a chance in the runoffs, but the Republicans will be favored,” Judy said. “Partisans on both sides will be very fired up, but I believe the prospect of divided government will be very attractive to a lot of independents in the state.”

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Whit Ayres, November 4

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Financial Times regarding the key moment of the 2020 presidential contest:

Mr Clyburn’s endorsement of Mr Biden was “probably the single most important moment in the history of this presidential election,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist. “If that hadn’t happened, Bernie Sanders would likely have won the nomination.”

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Outlook for 2020 Elections

Jon McHenry, October 30

Jon McHenry’s comments in The Hill regarding “shy Trump voters” and “propriety” polling methods:

“[Trafalgar] doesn’t disclose their ‘proprietary digital methods’ so I can’t really evaluate what they’re doing,” said Jon McHenry, a Republican pollster with North Star Opinion Research. “They’re far enough out on a limb that a year from now, we’ll all remember if they were very right or very wrong.”

McHenry said he does not think there are many “shy” Trump supporters who would lie about their intentions.

Rather, there is concern about a “skewed response rate pattern,” whereby Trump voters would be less likely to participate in a survey or answer the phone when a pollster calls.

Still, McHenry noted that this wouldn’t be an automatic benefit for Trump. In Pennsylvania, for instance, he found Democrats were less likely to answer the phone than their registration would suggest.

“I can’t definitively say there is no response bias, but I’m skeptical of it, and it certainly wouldn’t be enough to explain the national deficits we’re seeing,” he said.

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Whit Ayres, October 27

Whit Ayres’ comments to The Wall Street Journal regarding immigration as a salient election issue:

“Immigration was a significant issue primarily for Republicans in 2016 and 2018 because of the president’s promotion of the issue,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster. “Given how much the pandemic has overwhelmed our country and disrupted almost every aspect of our lives, it makes sense that immigration and other issues would fade into the background.”

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Jon McHenry, October 21

Jon McHenry’s comments regarding Florida as a must-win state for President Trump:

Come election night, Mr McHenry said how Florida votes could be indicative of the final result. The actual result will not be confirmed on Nov 3, but much later when all votes are counted.

“The cheat sheet is if President Trump hasn’t won Florida, while it might not be time to go to bed, it’s certainly time to brush your teeth and put on some pyjamas because it is very tough for him to win re-election if he doesn’t win in Florida,” he said.

To read the full article, explaining battleground states to an overseas audience, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 20

Whit Ayres’ comments to McCatchy News Services regarding reelection campaigns as referenda on incumbents:

“The president’s best scenario for re-election was making the election a choice between the incumbent and an unacceptable alternative,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster. “But both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have done a good job making the election a referendum on Donald Trump rather than a choice.”

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Whit Ayres, October 19

Whit Ayres’ comments to CNN on Republican Senate candidates running ahead of the President in their state:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, recently told CNN that Barrett is “an extraordinarily impressive woman who, if she has any political impact, will help Republicans in close races.” 

“We know it’s entirely possible for Republican senators running for reelection to run ahead of the President,” said Ayres. “The question is, ‘how far ahead of the President can they run?'”

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