Whit Ayres, February 28

Whit Ayres’ comments to Politico on the 2021 CPAC meeting in Orlando:

“Donald Trump remains the leader of the populist wing of the party, which he grew into a dominant force in Republican primaries, although never a majority force in the country,” said Whit Ayres, the longtime Republican pollster. “But because Trump dominates the populist wing, the folks who are members of that wing are going to continue to promote whatever he wants to promote at the time. That means they’re still hanging on to this myth that the election was stolen.”

To read the full article please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 26

Whit Ayres’ comments in USA Today about CPAC:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster and consultant, sees the split as one between a “pro-governing” wing of the party and the “pro-populist” wing.

The populists, he said, are more interested in being anti-establishment, anti-immigrant, and anti-media. Trump fused those people into a force that won the Electoral College in 2016, but could not get him over the top in 2020.

Now, “the Republican Party is seriously split between the governing faction and the populist faction,” Ayres said, and CPAC “will be a celebration of the populist faction.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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?”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 18

Whit Ayres’ comments to Newsweek on Florida’s COVID response and Governor Ron DeSantis’ approval ratings:

Whit Ayres, the founder of North Star Opinion Research, counts DeSantis among the politicians for whom his company has provided messaging advice. DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic “appears to be at least as effective if not more effective” than other states that imposed stricter lockdowns, Ayres said.

“Governor DeSantis has done an admirable job of handling this pandemic from day one,” Ayres told Newsweek. “He has managed to keep a lid on the number of cases per capita while at the same time keeping the economy more open than either New York or California.”

DeSantis “has also done a better job of getting the vaccine distributed” than Cuomo and Newsom, Ayres said. “Based on the record of controlling the pandemic while keeping the economy going, Governor DeSantis has one of the very best records of any governor,” he added.

Earlier this week, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, suggested during an appearance on Fox News that DeSantis would be a “strong potential presidential candidate” in 2024. Though it’s too early to tell who would dominate a 2024 field, Ayres said it made sense for DeSantis as the leader of a swing state to consider a run.

“He’s a very talented guy with a strong record from one of the country’s largest states,” Ayres said.

To read the full article, please click here.

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 10

Whit Ayres appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss polling and President Trump’s impeachment trial:

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/10/966498568/how-the-polls-have-differed-between-trumps-1st-and-2nd-impeachment-trials

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

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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Whit Ayres, January 11

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post regarding the future of the Republican party:

“January 6 is the opening battle in the war for the soul of the Republican Party,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “The party is now split between the governing wing and the populist wing even more sharply than it was during the tea party period.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, January 12

Dan Judy’s comments to Talking Points Memo regarding calls for unity after the attack on the Capitol:

Dan Judy, Vice President of North Star Opinion Research, a consultancy for Republican candidates, told TPM that the “unity” pushers can be put in two categories. The first, Republicans who opposed Trump’s rhetoric on election fraud and voted to uphold the Electoral College certification, have at least a “credible and morally consistent argument” when they say that an impeachment would further rip apart the country, he said. 

Not so for the other Republicans, those that fed into and amplified Trump’s conspiracy theories, he added. 

“Calls for unity from them with no acknowledgement of the President’s part in this simply have no credibility beyond the hardest-core Trump base,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here.