Jon McHenry, April 25

Jon McHenry’s comments to The Boston Globe regarding the gag order in Donald Trump’s New York case:

Complying with the gag order is not in Trump’s DNA, said Republican pollster Jon McHenry.

“He is never going to admit that he’s wrong, and he feels like if you don’t make your case, you’re weak,” McHenry said. “If he just sits and abides by the gag order, as virtually any other defendant would, he’s just letting the prosecution make their case against him, day after day, week after week, potentially.”

Any fines would easily be offset by the fund-raising Trump could do off it, McHenry said.

“The first time he gets fined, there’s going to be a fund-raising email that goes out to small donors saying, ‘Help me fight this corrupt judge and give me the money to pay off these fines so I can continue to speak,’ ” McHenry said. “That email is probably already written. And it just needs a date put in it.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres Inducted into AAPC Hall of Fame

The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) recognized Whit Ayres’ 35-year career as a Republican political consultant by inducting him into their Hall of Fame at the Capitol Hilton on April 18, 2024. The event was attended by over 300 political consultants and AAPC members, and the full video can be seen here.

Ayres has served as a pollster, mentor, and trusted advisor to numerous elected officials. His U.S. Senate clients have included Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Paul Coverdell, Bill Frist, Lindsey Graham, Jim Inhofe, John Kennedy, Mack Mattingly, Marco Rubio, Jeff Sessions, and Strom Thurmond. His gubernatorial clients have included David Beasley, Carroll Campbell, Ron DeSantis, Bill Haslam, Bill Lee, and Bob Riley. His more than 80 association and nonprofit clients have included The American Medical Association, The Bipartisan Policy Center, The Boy Scouts of America, The Environmental Defense Fund, The Federalist Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Since its founding in 1969, the AAPC has distinguished only 55 political consultants with this, its highest honor, recognizing their contributions to the association, profession and commitment to a vibrant democracy including ensuring free and fair elections. Ayres has been active in AAPC for over 30 years, serving as its Treasurer, President, and Chairman and championing the nonprofit’s Code of Ethics.

In 2012, Ayres was honored as the AAPC Republican Pollster of the Year. He currently serves on the Board of the News Literacy Project and actively supports ALS research, the Alexandria Symphony and Westminster Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Virginia.

In 1991, Ayres founded North Star Opinion Research, a national public opinion research firm located in Arlington, VA. The firm conducts surveys and focus groups across the country for associations, non-profits, corporations, and Republican candidates for office at all levels.

Whit Ayres/Hacks on Tap

Whit Ayres joined Robert Gibbs and Jonathan Martin on the Hacks on Tap podcast this week:

https://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/8491576/embed?v=202301

Whit Ayres, April 9

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Wall Street Journal regarding President Trump’s position on abortion:

“I don’t know that anything will take the attention off the abortion issue given some of the extremely restrictive bills that have been passed,” said GOP consultant Whit Ayres, who called Trump’s position a politically smart one. “But it is the most likely strategy to allow the focus on other issues.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, April 3

Whit Ayres’ comments to Politico about politics and higher education:

Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster, suggested that the topic’s resonance with voters was a symbol of Republicans’ growing frustration with elite higher education.

“That really was the culmination point of a long period of Republican suspicion about the mindset of higher education,” he said of the December hearing with the presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT. “Republicans believe that woke liberals have taken over most higher education institutions and instituted a very rigid belief system that one must follow or be excommunicated from the woke tribe.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres on the Pro Politics Podcast

Whit joined Zac McCrary on the Pro Politics Podcast to discuss four decades in politics from the faculty at the University of South Carolina to Governor Carroll Campbell’s staff to starting and running a successful polling firm:

https://propolitics.buzzsprout.com/1704139/14790220-whit-ayres-30-years-as-a-top-gop-pollster

Whit Ayres, March 29

Whit Ayres’ comments to ABC News on Republican office holders wrestling with abortion issues:

“The states have just started wrestling with one of the most intractable issues in American politics. And some state legislatures are going to overreach, and some state judicial rulings will overreach, and then they’ll get corrected,” GOP consultant Whit Ayres said. “We saw that with the IVF issue in Alabama, where the legislature and the governor rushed to confront and overturn a Supreme Court decision.”

When asked if Republicans have to make peace with a pattern of overreach and correction, Ayres replied, “Yeah. That’s the way the process works.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, March 26

Jon McHenry appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the U.S. stance toward Israel:

Republican pollster Jon McHenry says there may be an opportunity for Trump to present a more vigorous foreign policy with an ally – and win back some more traditional Republican voters he lost during the primaries. 

“That may actually be an entré for him to get them to say, ‘OK, maybe I don’t agree with him on Ukraine, but I do agree with him on Israel,'” said McHenry of North Star Opinion Research. “And that’s better than what I’m seeing out of Joe Biden.”

To read the article or listen to the segment, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 11

Whit Ayres’ comments to Vox on voters’ perceptions of the economy:

“The fundamental problem for Biden and the Democrats is that while the rate of inflation is down, it’s not going backwards,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. “It’s hard to persuade people that things are better.”

“The general perception is that the economy was better before the pandemic than it is now,” said Ayres, the GOP pollster. “And that perception is powerful politically.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, March 10

Whit Ayres’ comments to The Washington Post about the 2024 general election campaign:

Reelection campaigns generally favor the incumbent. But Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster and no friend of Trump, sees Biden as the clear underdog. He cites public dissatisfaction with the overall direction of the country, and notes that Trump is seen as more trusted on the economy and immigration and that an overwhelming percentage of Americans see the incumbent as too old to hold the toughest office in the world.

Yet he added, “In this sea of uncertainty, I am hesitant to make a flat statement [about the outcome in November]. With two historically unpopular candidates, it feels less stable than it appears on the surface.” Still, he argued that the Democrats’ best chance of winning today “would be to find a different candidate.”

To read the full article, please click here.