News Clips

Reporters and analysts rely on the expertise and comments of team members at North Star Opinion Research to give their stories depth and strategic perspective.  Read clips from recent articles on pressing political news.


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.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

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.

To read the full column, please click here.

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

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.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 15

Whit Ayres’ comments in The New York Times regarding public opinion on impeachment:

Still, there are signs that the outlook for Mr. Trump is not improving. Support for impeaching the president has been growing among Americans who were once against it. Before the Ukraine revelations, said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, about 15 percent of Americans who disapproved of Trump’s job performance still opposed his impeachment and removal. 

“The Ukraine revelations are reducing that number,” he said, to 12 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. “The progression of this story will likely make the impeachment inquiry numbers look much like Trump’s job approval numbers, with 40 to 45 percent opposing it and 55 to 60 percent supporting it,” Mr. Ayres added.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, September 28

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Atlantic on President Trump’s statements regarding California:

“It’s a freebie for Trump” that energizes his base, says the veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “It’s not like California’s going to turn around and vote Republican anytime in the future. This is part of the messaging that Republicans have used for years to send a signal to the rest of the country that I’m on your side, not on their side.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, September 24

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico regarding voters’ views of President Trump and impeachment:

“People have made up their minds on Trump. It would take a momentous event to change enough minds to alter his job approval rating away from the average of 43 or 44 percent,” said Whit Ayres, founder and president of North Star Opinion Research, a Republican polling firm. “We’re so polarized and in our tribes that people will look through their current lens and determine either the president did something wrong, or Joe Biden did something wrong. The facts won’t be particularly relevant.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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.

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.