Whit Ayres, January 27

Whit Ayres’ comments to Steven Roberts on Governor Ron DeSantis and his outlook in the 2024 presidential primaries:

DeSantis could be a far tougher foe. At 44, with a telegenic wife and three adorable young children, he highlights Biden’s age. More seriously, he shares Trump’s shrewder political instincts but lacks Trump’s fatal flaws — the narcotic narcissism, the endless grievances and the growing detachment from reality, all of which drive away moderate swing voters, who decide national elections.

“He’s Trump without the craziness,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, January 26

Whit Ayres’ comments in The Boston Globe about the prospects of a third-party candidate:

Further, despite Perot’s surprisingly strong showing, “the key point is that 19 percent of the popular vote yielded zero Electoral College votes,” noted Republican pollster Whit Ayres. For an independent candidate to emerge as a serious Electoral College factor, “you would have to assume that states that have voted consistently for either Democratic or Republican nominees lately would not do so again.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, December 29

Whit Ayres’ comments in Time on the 2024 Donald Trump campaign:

So far, Trump’s campaign is “disjointed, haphazard, unfocused, and still focused on the past, and his grievances, rather than the future, which is what attracted a lot of Republicans to him in 2015,” says Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. Nonetheless, Trump still has a grip on a meaningful slice of his party’s base. According to polling Ayres conducted with North Star Opinion Research, about 30% to 40% of GOP voters fall into what Ayres describes as “always Trump,” people who say they will support Trump no matter what. That is a strong base from which to wage a Republican primary campaign, Ayres says.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, December 2

Whit Ayres’ comments about ticket splitting and voters’ decisions in Governing:

Ayres, the GOP consultant, says that citizens make different calculations when voting for the Senate — where they’re choosing someone who will primarily just cast votes — than governor, where they’re electing someone with real decision-making authority. “Governors make life and death decisions, whether it’s the final decision with the death penalty or when to evacuate the coast in a hurricane,” Ayres says. “People look at governors with common sense and good judgment in dealing with very real issues under their control, in a way they don’t with Senate candidates.”

When it comes to federal elections, Ayres suggests, people are voting strictly for their team, whether red or blue, or voting negatively to keep the other team out of power. Partisanship is practically all that matters. What may be most striking about this election, in fact, is not that the number of ticket-splitters went up, but rather the way it illustrates once again that the nation’s political map remains stable, or even static.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 19

Whit Ayres’ comments to US News and World Report regarding former President Trump’s prospects in the 2024 Republican presidential primary:

Though some of the most recent polling suggests that Trump’s support among Republicans may be falling slightly, within that general support lies a core group of 35 to 40% of “always-Trumpers,” says Whit Ayers, GOP strategist and president of North Star Opinion Research. “They believe he hung the moon, they’ll walk through a wall of flame for him, they’ll defend him until hell freezes over.”

To win the primary, a candidate needs a plurality rather than a majority. Though Trump’s core supporters would not, on their own, guarantee his victory in the primaries if it becomes a one-on-one contest with another candidate – as demonstrated by recent polls showing his loss in several states in hypothetical head-to-head matchups against DeSantis – his path could be much easier if two or more serious contenders split the vote of, what Ayers estimates, is about half of Republicans who supported Trump but are tired of his controversies and open to supporting someone else.

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 19

Whit Ayres’ comments in Politico on ticket-splitting and candidate quality:

“In historical terms it may be low, but [ticket-splitting] was absolutely critical in numerous races this fall,” Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster for more than 30 years, said in an interview. “Voters made a lot of judgments about the quality of candidates nominated, and that’s why Democrats still control the Senate.”

“Governors actually make life and death decisions,” Ayres, the Republican pollster, said. “People are looking for good sense and good judgment in governors more than senators or congressmen, where increasingly they’re just looking for someone to join the blue team or the red team.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 18

Whit Ayres comments in the Associated Press (as printed in The Washington Post) regarding the House GOP’s legislative priorities:

Whit Ayres, a GOP political consultant, said Republicans should focus on inflation, crime and border security in the majority, but fears they will overreach once again.

“If past is prologue, the small House majority will govern from the right and we’ll get engaged in these investigations and cut off Ukraine aid and try to ban abortion and do all these other things that will repel a majority of the country and put Democrats back in charge,” Ayres said during a post-election forum at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, November 16

Jon McHenry’s comments to The Boston Globe regarding Donald Trump’s effect on the midterm elections:

Now after four tumultuous years in office, three straight disappointing Republican elections, two impeachments, and one deadly insurrection, Trump is a known political entity — and one whoseems to be rapidly losing popularity among Republicans just as he announced another White House run Tuesday night.

“How much do people have to lose before they go, ‘Wait a second, it’s because this quarterback keeps throwing pick-sixes that we’re losing?’ ” said Republican pollster Jon McHenry. “How many times do you have to burn your hand before you realize the stove is hot?”

McHenry thinks Republicans might have attributed too much of their polling decline in the summer to the backlash over the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning federal abortion rights, when Trump may have also played a role because of the controversy involving the FBI’s seizure of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago was unfolding at the same time. And he thinks Trump’s decision to tease an upcoming presidential announcement in the days before the midterms might also have turned off some voters.

“When President Trump was heavily involved in the news, things didn’t go well for Republicans” in the polls, McHenry said. “When the focus was on President Biden, things were very good for Republicans. And I don’t know how many will admit it, especially on the record, but I think there’s a pretty good sentiment that [Trump] did drag us down just enough to fall short in the Senate.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Dan Judy, November 15

Dan Judy’s comments in The Hill regarding election denials and U.S. Senate results:

“It’s not difficult to imagine Chris Sununu beating Maggie Hassan without a whole lot of trouble,” Republican strategist Dan Judy said.

Judy added, in reference to Bolduc: “By the time he started to pivot his campaign to the things voters were really concerned about, it was too late. He had defined himself — and been defined by the Democrats’ campaign — as this crazy election denier.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 17

Whit Ayres’ comments to CNN regarding abortion policy and the midterm elections:

Veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres says this separation testifies to the value of allowing states to set their own rules on contentious social issues, particularly abortion. This “is exactly why allowing the states to follow their own cultural values on such an emotionally fraught issue is a wise decision in a federal political system,” Ayres says. “That’s why Roe v. Wade was so problematic as a national policy because values differ so dramatically among the states that it is impossible to adopt a national abortion policy that will be supported in each of the states.”

To read the full article, please click here.