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, April 1

Whit Ayres’ comments for CNN regarding ObamaCare and the midterm elections:

Republican pollster Whit Ayers said there’s a more powerful factor in voter fatigue: Obama himself.

Six years into a President’s term, “people get tired of that person’s leadership,” he said. “Especially this President’s.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 23

Whit Ayres’ comments in USA Today regarding our joint survey with The Mellman Group for the Bipartisan Policy Center.

For many in the GOP, Ayres says, attitudes toward President Obama and the perception that he’s unwilling to compromise are driving the shift in views. “Republicans in particular realize that the best they’re going to do with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate is stopping bad things,” he says. “They believe that if you can stop the stimulus bill or stop Obamacare, that may be the best we can do — and that is a function of the divisions.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 20

Whit Ayres’ comments on the Hispanic vote and GOP prospects in 2014 and 2016 in the Los Angeles Times:

In 2012, exit polls show Mitt Romney beat Obama by 20 percentage points among white voters, which made up 72% of the electorate, while losing resoundingly among all other racial groups. In this November’s midterm election, whites will constitute a higher percentage of the electorate than in 2012, about 75%, according to GOP pollster Whit Ayres.

“My fear is that a good 2014 will disguise some of the fundamental problems that Republicans need to address if they are ever going to elect another president,” pollster Ayres said.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 10

Whit Ayres’ comments for the Washington Post‘s PlumLine blog regarding immigration reform and electoral trends:

GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who favors reform, tells me Republicans should take the two point rise in critical swing states very seriously.

“It’s significant,” Ayres says. “Some aspects of the future are difficult to see clearly. The increasing proportion of Hispanics in the electorates in key swing states is not one of them.”
“Swing states are by their very definition closely contested,” Ayres continues. “Many of them have been won in close races by only a percentage point or two. Changing the demographics of the state by two percentage points puts a finger on the scale in each of the swing states for the party that’s doing well among Hispanics. This underscores the critical importance for Republican candidates to do better among nonwhite Americans, particularly among Hispanics, if Republicans ever hope to elect another president.”

Ayres adds that the one-point rises also matter. “It is a sign of things to come,” he said. “States that have been comfortably red, like Georgia and North Carolina, are changing, and will become swing states unless Republicans figure out how to win significant support in the Hispanic community.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 6

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Christian Science Monitor regarding Republican electoral prospects and Obamacare:

“Anti-Obamacare and anti-Obama leadership is the core message,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But people vote for things as well as against things, and the smartest politicians I’ve ever worked with all believe in the importance of having a positive agenda. That doesn’t mean they all have to have the same agenda – but they all need something to be for.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 5

Whit Ayres’ comments on Republican economic messages in Politico:

That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to nationalize the election with one agenda, like House Republicans’ “Contract With America” in 1994 or their “Pledge to America” in 2010. But Republican candidates should at least have their own economic alternatives, said GOP pollster Whit Ayres: “What would you do differently? What’s your plan?”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 19

Whit Ayres’ comments for Fox News Latino on Republicans and Hispanic voters:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres put it bluntly: “The situation in Texas represents the promise for the Republican Party across the country.”

For the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 17

Whit Ayres’ comments on immigration reform in The Columbus Dispatch:

“The system is irretrievably broken and most people, when they look at irretrievably broken systems, try to make them better,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant in Washington. “That’s what the Senate did with their bill — a far-from-perfect bill, but a good-faith effort to solve the problem. And the speaker is absolutely right when he says the House needs to take its turns at bat.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, February 11

Dan Judy’s comments in US News and World Report regarding the debt limit vote:

“Getting the debt limit out of the way is a great move for Republicans, because every time they pick a fight on that issue, they lose and make themselves more unpopular in the process,” says Dan Judy, a Republican pollster. “Republicans already have the wind at their backs headed into the midterms, and taking the debt limit off the table allows them to go on offense against Democrats on the issues that are going to matter most in November: the still-struggling economy and the disastrous rollout of Obamacare.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 11

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal regarding the debt limit vote:

“The government shutdown was a watershed moment,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster. The speaker’s decision to allow a debt-limit increase reflects “the recognition we need to find other strategies and better tactics for advancing a conservative fiscal agenda.”

To read the full article, please click here (subscription required).

Jon McHenry, February 3

Jon McHenry’s comments in the Washington Times regarding President Obama’s plans to increase the use of executive orders:

“I think what it does is fire up Republicans to turn out to make sure they put in a Senate majority that can stop Obama,” said Republican pollster Jon McHenry, vice president of North Star Opinion Research in Alexandria, Va. “You’re going to see Republicans all up in arms that Obama’s going against the Constitution and trying to be a king and a dictator. It helps ramp up Republican turnout that was already probably going to be pretty good.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, February 1

Whit Ayres’ in The Hill on Senator Rubio’s opportunities in 2016:

“Marco Rubio is very much in the top tier of potential Republican candidates. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t looked at any data and doesn’t understand the dynamics of the Republican primary,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who counts Rubio as one of his clients. “Look at who votes. It’s very difficult to make the case that Chris Christie has a better chance winning the primary than Rubio.”

For the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, WSJ, January 31

Whit Ayres’ comments in the Wall Street Journal regarding Chris Christie:

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said Friday that Mr. Wildstein’s claims weren’t sufficient to conclude that Mr. Christie knew about the lane closures, or that he would suffer additional political damage.

“If what the governor said in his press conference turns out to be completely true, he’s fine,” Mr. Ayres said. “If there’s hard, verifiable evidence that what he said is not true, he’s in big trouble. What I’ve seen today hardly lives up to that standard.”

“Anybody can say anything in politics, but that doesn’t make it true,” Mr. Ayres said. “This hasn’t changed anything until you get hard, incontrovertible evidence, particularly from someone who may have a motive to say certain things. That’s just courtroom 101.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 31

Whit Ayres’ comments for the Washington Post on immigration reform and Republican politics:

“If Republicans wait until 2015 to tackle this issue, that puts a very emotional and controversial issue right in the middle of the Republican presidential selection process,” veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, a supporter of reform, tells me. “The opportunity for demagoguery will be exceedingly prevalent if we wait that long.”

“It could drag the entire field to the right on immigration, which is the last thing we need if we want to be competitive in the America of the 21st century as well as in the 2016 presidential election,” Ayres continued. “It’s a very real threat.”

For the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, Time, January 7

Whit Ayres’ comments for Time on the Republican approach to addressing poverty:

While both parties bemoan many of the same symptoms, they hardly agree on the disease, let alone the medicine. Democrats focus on income inequality: the gap between the nation’s highest and lowest earners is at its greatest level since the Roaring Twenties. Republicans, on the other hand, emphasize social mobility: the declining ease with which Americans can rise from the middle class to the top wage bracket. That makes the coming push less about policy as it is about election-year politics.

“While they may be using some of the same words, their perspectives are entirely different,” GOP pollster Whit Ayers said of the divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue. “And that leads to fundamentally different conclusions.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 7

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Hill on Senator Marco Rubio’s War on Poverty speech:

“If you go back and listen to the speeches Marco Rubio gave when he was a Senate candidate in Florida, expanding access to the American dream was at the core of his message,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who counts Rubio as a client. “It is vitally important, in his mind, to break the cycle of poverty and create additional upward social and economic mobility.”

Ayres put the speech in the context of former President Reagan and former Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), icons who reinvigorated Republican politics by heralding the promise of conservative policies for all economic classes, including the lowest.

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, November 15

Dan Judy’s comments on Obamacare and the President’s approval rating, for US News and World Report:

Republican pollster Dan Judy, who has done polling for the NRCC, says that with Obama’s approval plummeting, “things are looking grim for House Democrats.”

“Obamacare is likely to be an even bigger campaign issue than it was in 2010 when the Republicans used it to devastating effect against Democratic incumbents,” Judy says. “It’s gotten Republicans re-energized and Democrats demoralized, which is exactly the opposite of what the Democrats need to have a chance next year.”

For the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 18

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico regarding public opinion of gay marriage:

Republican strategist Whit Ayres said the Cheney clash is “symptomatic” of America’s divide on gay marriage.

“Everybody has been reconsidering their view on this issue,” he said. “It doesn’t mean everybody has changed their minds, but a great many people have reconsidered their views. When a couple as rock-ribbed conservative as Dick and Lynne Cheney can have a gay daughter; a former chair of the RNC [Ken Mehlman] announces he is gay, that makes a great many people—even very conservative people—take a second look at the issue.”

To read the full article, please click here.

The Obamacare Infection

Whit Ayres’ post titled “The Obamacare Infection” was featured on National Review Online:

Our polling has shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans simply did not believe most of the president’s promises about Obamacare. In March 2012, substantial majorities said that key claims he made about the law were false. For his claim that “the plan will not add one dime to the federal-budget deficit,” that figure is 71 percent; for “the plan will lower premiums for the average family by $2500 per year,” 67 percent; for “the plan will lower costs for individuals, businesses, and the federal government,” 64 percent.

The one promise they did believe? “If you like your current health plan, you will be able to keep it.” By a margin of 64 to 27 percent, Americans said that promise was true. And now they are discovering that to be false as well.

To read the full post, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 4

Whit Ayres’ comments on the Virginia gubernatorial race and implications for Republicans for ABC News:

“If the polls hold true and [Ken] Cuccinelli loses, it shows that successful Republicans drive down the middle of the right-hand side of the road — they don’t drive off into the ditch on the right,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Virginia-based Republican pollster.

“It’s hard to say that the Republican Party is in a stronger position today than a year ago,” Ayres added. “But I’m hopeful that more and more Republicans are willing to see the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 31

Whit Ayres’ comments on Morning Edition regarding ObamaCare:

The message challenge for the White House has been and remains very significant. The president made a lot of promises about his healthcare plan that, according to our polling, most Americans never believed. They never believed that the plan would lower health insurance premiums for the average family by $2,500 a year, that the plan would not add one dime to the federal deficit.

The one promise they did believe is that if you like your current plan, you can keep it. And now they’re finding out that not even that is true and they’re feeling betrayed. I think the jury is still out about the individual impact on this law, but I think it’s going to be negative.

For the segment transcript, or to listen to the segment, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 29

Whit Ayres’ comments for the Associated Press regarding Obamacare:

“There’s no question the issue has legs, in part because it affects so many Americans very directly and in part because the glitches with the website are simply one of many fundamental problems with this law,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said.

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, October 22

Dan Judy’s comments for U.S. News and World Report on immigration reform proposals in the House.

Dan Judy, a Republican pollster at North Star Opinion Research, says the Cantor plan strikes the right balance for the GOP, which must walk a fine line with immigration reform. While many want to court Latino voters on the national scale, Republicans in the House of Representatives must be careful not to alienate their constituencies.

“The Dream Act shows very broad support, but when you talk about allowing those children’s parents to stay in the country, independents are split and Republicans are strongly opposed,” Judy says.

“That is a bridge too far for a lot of lawmakers.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 18

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico regarding ObamaCare in the 2014 elections:

Republicans, they say, can just let the spotlight return to the federal Obamacare website that breaks all the time — and any other implementation oopsies that happen along the way. That process is already underway, as House Republicans plan hearings on the website issues and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida warned that there will be a “revolt” over Obamacare in 2014.

“Getting the shutdown-debt limit debate behind us allows the problems with Obamacare to resurface. Those problems haven’t gone away,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who had warned GOP lawmakers that the shutdown would be a major distraction from those problems.

To real the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy at the National Journal Congressional Connection Event

Dan Judy joined Ron Brownstein, Kristen Roberts, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Guy Molyneux, and Jared Bernstein to discuss National Journal’s Congressional Connection poll, the government shutdown, and the debt ceiling.

Congressional Connection Poll Event from National Journal on

Please click here for the video.

Dan Judy, October 4

Dan Judy’s comments on the political effects of the government shutdown in US News and World Report:

At this point it’s impossible to know who will get the blunt of the blame for congressional gridlock. Both sides are forging ahead with independent messaging strategies. Republicans have been pushing mini-funding bills in what they say is an attempt to ease the pain of the government shutdown, while Democrats have been blasting Republicans for trying to dismantle Obamacare, a bill they argue was passed more than 3 years ago and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

“No one is going to come out of this looking good,” says GOP pollster Dan Judy.

Republican pollsters on the other hand are not so sure that the shutdown of 2013 will look anything like those of the 1990s.

“It still might end up killing us in 2014, but it is becoming harder and harder to predict because the old rules just don’t apply anymore,” Judy says.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, October 2

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico on President Obama, ObamaCare, and the budget impasse:

“You reap what you sow,” said Whit Ayres, the veteran Republican pollster. “When you force through a major and very significant change to our economy, and you do it on a pure party-line vote, and at the very end change the rules to cram it through, you simply set up a long-term political battle that will never end.”

For his part, Obama would be entitled to think that the Republicans’ attempt to repeal or delay his signature initiative through the back-door means of a budget resolution to keep the government running is unreasonable. Indeed, GOP pollster Ayres notes that his surveys show that “shutting down the government is the one way to change Obamacare into a negative political issue for the Republicans.” Asked why the tea party insisted on such tactics, he replied, “You’ll have to ask them. They’re obviously not persuaded by the available data.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, October 1

Jon McHenry in The Washington Times on the politics for Republicans of a government shutdown:

“The president has the microphone, and he generally has a sympathetic press that’s going to echo what he says,” said Jon McHenry, vice president of North Star Strategies, a Republican polling firm. “There’s a lot of peril for Republicans in this.”

And while there is little individual risk for those conservative lawmakers in pushing a shutdown, Mr. McHenry said there is collective risk for the House GOP’s majority if a public backlash hurts moderate Republicans in swing districts.
“At some point you have to decide if you want to be a Republican in the minority,” Mr. McHenry said. “Safe as your seat might be, that doesn’t mean you that guaranteed a majority going forward. A lot of those folks haven’t been in the minority. You can’t stop Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi with 200 Republicans in the House and 40 Republicans in the Senate.”

Mr. McHenry said that although Mr. Obama’s job-approval ratings are poor, and he isn’t leading on the budget crisis, tea party conservatives are inadvertently strengthening his position.
“He hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself by trying to lead on this issue,” Mr. McHenry said. “The president seems to have exhausted his ideas for leading the country. But by pushing this shutdown possibility as far as it’s gone, the Republicans have pushed the president to the one talking point he has left — railing against Republicans.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, September 28

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Washington Post on national implications for Republicans in the Virginia gubernatorial contest:

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, sketched out the stakes for his party and, by implication, for those Republicans who may be thinking about running for president in 2016. “It may be a textbook example of how you resurrect the party and how you don’t,” he said. “I can’t talk as though McAuliffe has won, but it’s pretty clear that if you continually tack right, tack right, tack right, that it’s going to be increasingly difficult to win swing states.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, September 19

Jon McHenry’s comments in US News and World Report on ObamaCare and a potential government shutdown:

On its own, GOP pollster Jon McHenry says repealing and dismantling Obamacare is a great issue that attracts the Republican base, a majority of independents and even a fraction of Democratic voters to the GOP ticket.

“Where we lose is where we link Obamacare to the CR,” McHenry says, referring to the continuing resolution battle Congress is embroiled in.

Independents won’t go for a government shutdown even if it would stop Obamacare in its tracks, he explains.

“It jeopardizes Republicans maintaining control of the House and even gaining control of the Senate, which they are in a position to do in 2014,” McHenry says.

To read the full article, please click here.