Whit Ayres, August 25

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Boston Globe regarding President Trump and congressional Republicans:

“I think most of the Republicans in the Congress realize that they are going to have to take the ball and run with it if they are going to get anything accomplished,” says pollster and consultant Whit Ayres, who has advised Senators Marco Rubio, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Bob Corker, among others.

“Most of the Republicans in the Senate are perfectly willing to do it at this point,” he continues. “Trump has attacked their leader, attacked members of the caucus. If anything, Trump has united the caucus by going after some of them so aggressively.”

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Whit Ayres, August 21

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding the differences in reactions between Senators and House members:

But in general, Trump has stronger support in the House, where GOP lawmakers tend to represent more conservative constituencies.

“Senators clearly are more visible elected officials, and almost all of them have more heterogeneous constituencies than House members. They have to appeal to a broader segment of the electorate than do House members, especially those in gerrymandered congressional districts,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

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Jon McHenry, August 16

Jon McHenry’s comments in The Hill regarding tax reform messaging:

GOP lawmakers and the Trump administration often spend a considerable amount of time discussing how tax reform will boost economic growth and business competitiveness.

Strategists suggested that it’s important for Republicans to explain how more economic growth directly affects them, and some argued that lawmakers should cut to the chase and lead their tax-reform pitches with arguments about more jobs and more take-home income.

“The most important thing is to keep it on the day-to-day things that people are focused on, which in this case is jobs,” said Jon McHenry, vice president of the GOP polling firm North Star Opinion Research.

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Whit Ayres, August 11

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding President Trump’s criticisms of Republicans in the Senate:

Whit Ayres, a GOP consultant who worked with Sen. Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) campaign in last year’s Republican presidential primary, echoed Cornyn’s comments about politics being a team sport.

“No one can succeed alone,” Ayres said. “Attacking members of your own team has never been known to be an effective strategy to produce victories.”

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Whit Ayres, August 9

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Financial Times regarding “Real News” and President Trump’s efforts to maintain his favorable ratings with his base of support:

“Clearly he has very strong support still among the folks who voted for him and among Republicans overall. But there seems to be some slippage in the intensity of support; that is, movement from people who ‘strongly approve’ of his job performance to ‘somewhat approve’,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant.

He noted that Republicans were reluctant to give a negative approval rating for “one of their own”. Richard Nixon, for instance, still had above-water approval ratings among Republicans until the day he left office. “It’s more a matter of watching the intensity,” Mr Ayres said. 

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Whit Ayres, August 7

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times about credibility in politics:

WASHINGTON — Whit Ayres, a Republican political consultant here, likes to tell his clients that there are “three keys to credibility.”

“One, never defend the indefensible,” he says. “Two, never deny the undeniable. And No. 3 is: Never lie.”

Would that politicians took his advice.

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Whit Ayres, July 28

Whit Ayres’ comments to US News and World Report regarding President Trump’s relationship with Congress:

“There is a reason why the famous political scientist Richard Neustadt said years ago that presidential power is the power to persuade. Not the power to command – to persuade,” says Whit Ayres, a veteran GOP consultant and pollster. Trump, Ayres says, tried to bully lawmakers and suffered a backlash. And it was predictable to anyone who can do the math, he notes.

“Many of these senators are more popular in their states than Donald Trump is. Most of the senators who won re-election in 2016 ran ahead of Donald Trump in their states,” Ayres adds. “That means that those senators tend to think the president owes them, rather than that they owe the president.”

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Whit Ayres, July 19

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Charlotte Observer on the effect of not repealing Obamacare on the 2018 midterms:

Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster who will be involved in the 2018 midterms, said the health care flop won’t necessarily be catastrophic for the GOP — if they can net real, beneficial accomplishments on other complicated issues, such as tax reform.

“The best outcome is a set of concrete accomplishments that appeal broadly to a center-right coalition,” Ayres said. “If that set of accomplishments does not include an overhaul of the health care system, then something else, like tax reform, that truly stimulates the economy would be a good substitute. But it will be far easier to run campaigns in 2018 with a concrete set of accomplishments that Republicans can take to the electorate as a result of Republican control of the government.”

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Whit Ayres, June 21

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post regarding Karen Handel’s victory in the GA 06 special election:

Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant and Handel strategist, underscored her success in turning the contest into a normal partisan choice. “The voters decided that Karen Handel was a better representative of their values, their interests and their perspective than Jon Ossoff,” he told me. “Karen Handel ran a relentlessly localized campaign that focused on that perspective.”

Notice those words: “relentlessly localized.” To pull this off, Handel had to keep her distance from Trump. Ayres put the matter diplomatically: “The president structured the broader environment but didn’t determine the outcome of this particular race.” Exactly.

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Whit Ayres, June 21

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Boston Globe regarding Karen Handel’s victory in the GA 06 special election:

But Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster in Washington, cautioned the party against taking too many lessons from the special races. Yes, Democrats would have received a jolt of energy had they been able to flip one of the four deeply red House districts that had special elections this year, but it was always unlikely. Plus, Democrats will have better chances of victory in some of the 2018 districts in more moderate states, such as California.

“My main takeaway is that the GOP can win in a challenging environment,” Ayres said in an interview. “The president structures a broader environment but doesn’t determine the outcome of the political races. . . . It all depends on which candidates are nominated and what campaigns they run.”

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