Whit Ayres, January 14

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding the potential for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential bid:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, agreed that Mr. Bloomberg should not be dismissed.

“By any traditional measure, it’s a pipe dream, but if we learned anything in 2016 it’s that just because something has never happened before doesn’t mean it can’t happen now,” he said. “No one has ever talked about spending remotely as much money as he’s talking about spending on this race.”

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Whit Ayres, December 3

Whit Ayres’ comments to CNN regarding impeachment and views of President Trump:

“The whole impeachment debate has intensified preexisting feelings about the President,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “Most people who like him do so with their eyes wide open. … They understand his strengths and his weaknesses and they prefer him to the alternatives as they see it. On the other hand, people who dislike him will be even more appalled because what they are seeing reinforces their existing views.”

Ayres, the Republican pollster, says Trump’s unbending response to impeachment underlines the pugnacious take-no-prisoners posture that thrills his core supporters. 

“Supporters take away he’s a fighter, that he’s never backs down, that he never gives in to the carping critics and that he will stand his ground no matter what the situation and hold his head high in the face of unrelenting criticism,” he said.

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Whit Ayres, November 30

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press regarding impeachment:

“It will be part of the mosaic, but hardly the overriding issue,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres predicted about impeachment’s impact next November. “It will have faded by then and it will also have simply reinforced the preexisting attitudes and made them more intense.”

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Whit Ayres, November 20

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times on the electability of Elizabeth Warren:

Whit Ayres, president of North Star Opinion Research, was outspoken: “Elizabeth Warren is God’s gift to Donald Trump and Republican candidates.”

“Well-educated suburban voters, especially women,” Ayres continued, “are uncomfortable with President Trump,” but, he added, “they are not going to vote for a candidate who wants to take away their private health insurance, decriminalize the border, increase government spending by 50 percent, and ban fracking, especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado.”

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Whit Ayres, November 19

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press on voting trends in Georgia:

“Only in the event of a landslide nationally does Donald Trump lose Georgia,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres, pointing to Trump’s 5 percentage point win in Georgia in 2016. Arizona, Ayres said, is the likelier Sun Belt state to flip to Democrats, while Texas and Georgia are a tier below, still a few election cycles away from tilting.

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Whit Ayres’ WSJ Opinion Piece, November 18

From Whit Ayres’ op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on November 18:

As the nation tumbles toward the 2020 presidential elections, it seems also on course for its second presidential impeachment in a little more than two decades. It all looks like so much chaos, but our likely path forward is illuminated by polls about the Bill Clinton impeachment in the 1990s and predictions from one of America’s most prolific Founding Fathers.

While the Clinton and Trump impeachment efforts differ dramatically on the politics and allegations involved, one similarity offers tantalizing parallels that could predict how the public reacts to the current investigation. Unlike the Nixon impeachment inquiry in 1973-74, the Clinton and Trump impeachment drives evoked an overwhelmingly strong partisan reaction. In both instances, stalwart party members on either side defended behavior they would roundly condemn in a president of the other party.

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Whit Ayres, November 14

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding potential handling of the Supreme Court ruling on DACA:

“Presumably, there will be discretion about how aggressively various laws are enforced,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, “but it does create a political challenge because, consistently, 80 percent of Americans have supported allowing the DACA kids to stay.”

“What’s so frustrating is that 80 percent of Americans also support a secure border, and Congress has thus far seemed unable to put those two 80 percent issues together in a very limited immigration bill,” Mr. Ayres said.

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Whit Ayres, November 8

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding Republican Senate reelection prospects:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres told The Hill that the results from Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania show suburban voters are trending further away from GOP candidates.

“It’s a continuation of the pattern we saw in 2017 in Virginia’s gubernatorial election and the 2018 midterms. Blue states are getting bluer, red states are staying red and states in the middle are still competitive. But it’s hard to reelect with a job approval of 34 percent,” Ayres said, referring to Bevin’s ratings.

“The suburbs continue to trend toward the Democrats where the Republicans have had a stranglehold for years,” he added.

Ayres said statewide Republican candidates can win in swing states such as Maine and Colorado next year but will have to outperform Trump on top of the ticket.

“The senators running in swing states will need to run well-ahead of the president in the suburbs to win reelection,” he said.

“And that’s possible,” Ayres said, noting how Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) outperformed Trump in their home states in 2016.

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Dan Judy, Oct 28

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill regarding the political impact of U.S. troops successes against ISIS:

Another Republican strategist, Dan Judy, said that it was important to acknowledge the importance of al-Baghdadi’s demise — but also to keep its likely impact at home in perspective.

“Strategically, it is a huge deal, it is a huge win, and I think people recognize that,” he said. “But most people would not have recognized al-Baghdadi, whereas Osama bin Laden held a singular place in the American psyche.” …

To be sure, some Republicans argue that even if the al-Baghdadi operation does not change Trump’s overall approval ratings, it could at least give him some breathing room from GOP elected officials who have been openly critical of the Syria pull-out.

“Many Republicans, especially on Capitol Hill, were very unhappy about that,” said Judy. “This could take a bit of heat off [Trump] for that decision.”

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Jon McHenry, October 12

Jon McHenry’s comments to the Associated Press on the potential for Republicans to support impeachment:

In today’s hyperpartisan climate, if the House impeaches Trump, it seems hard to envision 20 Senate Republicans joining all Democrats for the two-thirds majority required to remove Trump from office. Some retiring Republicans might be reluctant to cast a futile vote against Trump after a lifetime of party loyalty, while others might view it as a way to burnish their reputations for independence.

“You’ve just got to decide where the evidence lies and where you want your legacy to be,” said Republican pollster Jon McHenry.

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