North Star Blog

Whit Ayres, August 19

Whit Ayres’ comments to the Associated Press on Republican office holders and gun control laws:

“Republicans’ backs are already against the wall among suburban voters, particularly college-educated women,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant. “And the inability of our political system to pass what most Americans see as commonsense reforms related to gun violence only makes the matter worse.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, August 14

Whit Ayres’s comments in the Los Angeles Times regarding President Trump’s approach on trade:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said trade and trade agreements were significant factors for voters who switched from backing President Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, especially in the upper Midwest.

“He has certainly elevated the importance of the issue,” Ayres said of China. “Time will tell whether Americans support his proposed solutions.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, August 13

Whit Ayres’s comments to CNBC regarding the future diversity of the Republican party:

Whit Ayres, founder and president of North Star Opinion Research, says a diverse Republican Party lies ahead, despite its current state. Ayres worked for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in 2016.

“We had a rally in the South Carolina primary in Charleston, and Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy were on the stage,” Ayres said. “They presented a different face to the American electorate. I took a picture of that rally and said, ‘This is the face of a successful Republican Party.’”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, August 12

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Washington Post about President Trump’s appeal to his base:

“It’s part and parcel of his long-running effort to energize his base at the expense of those who were not for him before and who are not for him today,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “Part of his appeal to his base is that he is famously and proudly not politically correct.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, July 15

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Atlantic regarding Donald Trump’s appeal to the coalition that elected him in 2016:

A verity of American politics is that the game is about addition. A successful candidate preserves his core support and builds out. Yet more than a year before the 2020 election, Trump has shown no appetite for enlarging his coalition. He seems content to win or lose with the ones who got him this far. “The president has, since the day he was elected, focused his attention on stimulating and energizing the people who were already for him—often at the expense of people who are not,” Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, told me. “He’s made no effort at all to expand his base of support.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, CSIS Podcast

Whit Ayres joined Dan Runde on his CSIS Building the Future podcast to discuss demographic change, the future of the Republican party, and issues for the 2020 election.

You can listen to part one here.

You can listen to part two here.

Whit Ayres, July 3

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post on the gap between President Trump’s approval rating and views of the economy:

Yet the president hasn’t enjoyed a similar lift in his numbers. It’s evidence, Republican pollster Whit Ayres says, that voters are “evaluating Trump’s job approval based on his conduct and behavior in office rather than the state of the economy.”

“Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has severed the traditional relationship between economic well being and presidential job approval,” Ayres says. “A more traditional president in this economy would have job approval in the upper 50s, maybe even 60 percent or above.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, June 24

Whit Ayres’ comments in Roll Call regarding President Trump’s reelection strategy:

“Talking about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is another way of saying, ‘Do you want to go back to the way things were?’” said Whit Ayers, a GOP consultant to clients such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Trump critics-turned-allies. “And for his base — which is the only group he really targets — the answer is a resounding, ‘No.’”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, June 19

Whit Ayres appeared on Voice of America to discuss the importance of Florida in President Trump’s reelection campaign:

Whit Ayres, June 18

Whit Ayres appeared on WBUR’s show On Point to discuss the beginning of President Trump’s reelection campaign.

Whit Ayres, June 14

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Daily Caller regarding the President and the economy:

“A normal president with these economic numbers would have job approval somewhere in the vicinity of 60 percent,” according to Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has, at least at this point, severed the traditional relationship between economic well-being and presidential job approval.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, June 6

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Washington Times on President Trump’s reelection prospects:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said the Midwestern states are always competitive, and polls at this point in the 2016 cycle likely showed Mr. Trump in a similar position.

“It’s the economy that’s his ace in the hole. He’s very unlikely to change his basic message regardless of what polls say,” Mr. Ayres said.

To read the full article, please click here.

Outlook for the 2020 Elections

Whit Ayres, May 28

Whit Ayres appeared on the show “Planet America” on Australian Broadcasting Company to discuss the American political climate. The interview starts at the 9:40 mark.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/planet-america/?jwsource=cl

Whit Ayres, May 24

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Atlantic regarding voting patterns in the South:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who works extensively across the South, says that white women, “particularly suburban white women … have been absolutely critical” to the GOP’s strength in states approving the abortion bans. Election Day exit polls showed that most white women in these areas joined big majorities of white men to provide insuperable leads for Republican candidates.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, May 4 (Bloomberg)

Whit Ayres’ comments to Bloomberg on Republican senators’ influence over policy and nominees:

“There’s no mileage in Republican senators picking public fights with President Trump, but they will continue to exert their own will privately and behind the scenes, just as they have done with the Federal Reserve nominees,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant who has worked with a number of Republican senators.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres on Against the Grain

Whit Ayres joined Josh Kraushaar’s Against the Grain podcast to discuss Republican strategy in the Trump era:

https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/678157/against-the-grain-episode-30-on-ayres?

Whit Ayres, May 4

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Los Angeles Times regarding President Trump’s reelection prospects:

Indeed, “a normal president with these economic numbers would have job approval somewhere in the vicinity of 60%,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But Donald Trump is a nontraditional president, and he has, at least at this point, severed the traditional relationship between economic well-being and presidential job approval.”

Currently, an average of just over 4 in 10 Americans approve of Trump’s performance in office, a number that has fluctuated in a very narrow range since early in his presidency.

“That said, a good economy obviously helps a president running for reelection,” Ayres said. “We have to see if it helps Donald Trump as much as it would have helped a traditional president.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 1

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding climate change:

“A lot of thoughtful Republicans have accepted the reality of climate change and are wrestling with questions of policy,” Whit Ayres, a prominent Republican pollster, said. 

Mr. Ayres noted that many Republicans had concerns about climate change policies like taxing or regulating coal and oil pollution. But he said that questioning the foundational science of climate change could become a political liability.

“There are perfectly legitimate questions to be raised about whether a dollar spent fighting climate change is better spent on health care or education,” Mr. Ayres said. “But there are no longer credible questions to be raised about the existence of climate change. If the White House ends up there, that is simply not credible.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 27

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Christian Science Monitor on congressional votes to stop President Trump’s emergency declaration:

“There’s a real tension here,” says Whit Ayres, a longtime GOP pollster, whose clients include Sens. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida and Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee. “We’ve never had, to my knowledge, a president ask Congress to appropriate money for something, Congress has refused, and the president has declared an emergency to get around a decision of Congress.”

When Trump declared victory over the Islamic State and ordered the withdrawal of troops in Syria and Afghanistan, the Senate passed a bill strongly opposing the move.

Mr. Ayres, the pollster, says those unusual rebukes were only possible because the president’s position was so far off from most of his party’s. The national emergency declaration, on the other hand, highlights competing priorities within the Republican Party: enhancing border security, and upholding the Constitution and the separation of powers.

“This is a vote that will be remembered because of its constitutional implications and its separation of powers implications,” says Ayres. “You’re not just voting for the next election, you’re voting in many ways for your historical record.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 7

Whit Ayres’ comments to Time regarding President Trump and border security:

On the issue of the moment, the Feb. 15 spending deadline, one way out would be for Trump to accept a deal that boosts border-security spending without funding a wall. “If he can get a bill enacted that truly does strengthen the border, then he will be able to sell that to his base without having an actual 2,000-mile-long physical wall,” says Whit Ayres, a GOP consultant at North Star Opinion Research. “The key is making the border more secure.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 5

Whit Ayres’ comments to Ron Brownstein of CNN regarding President Trump’s ability to appeal beyond his base and win reelection in 2020:

Absent a major world event, or a dramatic change in the economy, few in either party expect those hardened patterns to shift much by the 2020 election. Republican pollster Whit Ayres offered a view widely shared among professionals on both sides when he was asked how much capacity Trump has to expand his support by the next election. “Virtually no ability,” Ayres said, “without a change in behavior or some stunning new event that shocks the political system.”

But the stability of attitudes toward Trump underscores how unlikely he is to accomplish any of those things before 2020. And his single-minded focus on the border wall — which has almost never attracted support from more than 45% of the country in any major poll during his presidency — illuminates how limited is his commitment to even pursuing such unity. “He is very comfortable reinforcing and energizing the people who are already with him at the expense of reaching beyond them to those who are not already on his side,” notes Ayres.

Like many Republicans, Ayres believes Democrats could choose a polarizing nominee “who is incapable of consolidating” the roughly 55% or slightly more of the country that has consistently expressed resistance to Trump. That could encourage some of the voters uneasy about Trump to splinter toward a third party candidate, such as Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who is openly pondering a bid. Even in that scenario, Ayres notes, Trump would face a very tight squeeze if he can’t expand his support beyond the roughly 45% of the vote he won in 2016 and GOP House candidates nationwide captured last fall. “The real question is whether you can draw to an inside straight twice in a row,” he says.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 5

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Christian Science Monitor regarding President Trump’s options on immigration policy:

Trump could potentially even be a “Nixon in China” when it comes to immigration, says GOP pollster Whit Ayres. President Richard Nixon was able to visit China in 1972 because of his strong anti-communist stance.

Immigration has dogged American presidents for decades, but “President Trump could actually get something accomplished,” Mr. Ayres says. “He can take risks other presidents couldn’t, and survive politically with his base.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 9

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill regarding Republicans and health care:

“Health care is such a significant part of our economy and the challenges are growing so great with the retirement of the baby boomers and the disruption brought about by ObamaCare that you can’t just cede a critically important issue to the other side,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

“Republicans need a positive vision about what should happen to lower costs, expand access and protect pre-existing conditions,” he added. “You’ve got to be able to answer the question, ‘So what do you think we should do about health care?’”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, December 29

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post on the 2020 presidential election:

Some Republican pollsters have also been watching the president’s tactics with concern, noting that there is little evidence he has grown his electoral coalition after the 2016 election, when he won the White House despite losing the popular vote.

“The problem is that the base is nowhere close to a majority of the nation,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. “In a government of the people, for the people and by the people, it sure helps to have a majority of the people behind what you are trying to do.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, December 18

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill on the possibility of a government shutdown:

“We keep having these debates over a shutdown, it seems, every year or two,” said GOP strategist Dan Judy. “There is a chunk of the party that says, ‘This time will be different’. And it never works.”

Judy added that any move toward a shutdown might have some appeal to the president’s base. But he said its negative ramifications would be far more severe.

“It will certainly, I think, motivate the hardcore, hardcore base — but that is not the sort of voters that Republicans are going to need to prevail in 2020 and beyond,” he said.

“We are going to need the voters in the middle, as well as the more moderate voters in our own party, who first and foremost want the government to work.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, December 7

Whit Ayres’s comments in The Hill regarding the 2020 electoral environment:

“The 2018 Senate map was the most favorable map for Republicans in our lifetime, so by comparison any other map is going to be more competitive,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

But Ayres warned that it’s far too early to predict the political environment leading up to Election Day 2020.

“It’s exceedingly difficult for me to get any sense of what 2020 will be like until we know two things: what’s in the Mueller report and who the Democrats are going to nominate,” Ayres said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

“If they nominate some far-left-wing whack job that is unacceptable to the broad middle of America, then you have a very different dynamic than if they nominate someone who is within shouting distance of the political center,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, November 7

Dan Judy’s comments to CNBC on the “Kavanaugh effect” in the midterm elections:

Dan Judy, Republican pollster and vice president at North Star Opinion, said, “The fight over Justice Kavanaugh brought the stakes of this election into stark relief, and helped get Republicans motivated behind Senate candidates in ways they weren’t before.”

Judy added that “opposing Kavanaugh exposed a number of Democrats who were claiming centrist records in very conservative states.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 4

Whit Ayres’ comment in The New York Times on President Trump’s appeal to base voters in the midterm elections:

Mr. Trump, who promised after his victory in 2016 to be a president for “all Americans,” has been fixated this year on visiting states that were critical to his Electoral College win and doubling down on nurturing his homogeneous base in those places. Many Republicans privately worry that in terms of the future health of their party, the outreach and agenda they are pursuing feels a lot like the president’s travel footprint: provincial and small.

“No one has repealed the long-term demographic trends in the country,” said Whit Ayres, a prominent Republican pollster. “At some point, Republicans are going to have to reach out beyond the base if they hope to win a majority of the popular vote in the future.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 1

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Atlantic on President Trump’s focus during the midterms:

Trump’s closing emphasis on culture may, in fact, represent a kind of triage for the GOP that effectively concedes large suburban losses in the House, but tries to protect more rural and blue-collar districts, as well as GOP Senate candidates in states fitting the latter description. “That’s not an unreasonable interpretation of it,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres said. Trump’s cultural messaging, he added, “may help in some rural blue-collar districts, but it sure doesn’t help in the suburban districts that are so important to help keep the House.”

To read the full article, please click here.