Dan Judy, May 14

Dan Judy’s comments to The Guardian on former President Donald Trump’s conquest of state Republican parties:

“The big, sort of under-the-radar story in American politics over the last couple of years was the way Trump and his people had taken over state parties across the country,” said Dan Judy, a senior analyst for North Star Opinion Research, a Republican guidance and consultancy company based in Virginia.

“Even early in the primary process, a year and a half ago when Ron DeSantis was riding high and leading a lot of the polls, I was always thinking: Trump has control of the state parties, he’s got his people in, and they are, for lack of a better word, going to attempt to rig the process in favor of Donald Trump.

“If you look at it, that’s exactly what happened. A lot of state parties changed their rules to make their primaries winner-takes-all, which absolutely helped Trump, especially as it came down to a one-on-one with Nikki Haley. It was clear that she was going to have to win some of these things outright to get any delegates at all, and she couldn’t do it.

“The fact that the Florida GOP has also been completely taken over by Trump folks is really indicative of a trend that has happened everywhere.”

Judy pointed to how easily Trump took down DeSantis in the primary race, humiliating the governor he disparaged as “Meatball Ron” in his own state. DeSantis’s efforts to cajole Florida’s congressional delegation were ultimately futile, and he dropped out in January to avoid a spanking in the state’s March primary.

“As high as he was riding after his huge re-election victory, just any hope that he would have had of continuing to be top dog in the Florida GOP went out the window when he failed to get any traction at all in the presidential race,” said Judy, who has worked for the winning campaigns of several Republican politicians, including DeSantis and the Florida senator Marco Rubio.

“He’s not the kind of person who cultivates relationships, who builds relationships, who builds a party, an organization, and an apparatus. He’s just not that guy, and if you’re going around Florida looking for Ron DeSantis people, there are shockingly few of them.

“But if Donald Trump is re-elected, there might be a place in the administration for him. If he wants to have a future in the current Republican party, he cannot be an enemy of Donald Trump, and you’re seeing him do the things that he needs to do to remain in good standing.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, May 14

Whit Ayres’ comments to The New York Times regarding President Biden and his reelection prospects:

“People associated with the administration are beating their heads against the wall saying, ‘Why aren’t they giving us any credit?’” said Whit Ayres, another veteran Republican pollster.

“But even if they did give him credit, voters think he is too old to serve effectively in a second term,” Mr. Ayres said, citing recent polling by ABC that demonstrates concerns over the 81-year-old president’s age.

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, April 21

Jon McHenry’s comments to The Daily Caller on the effect of Arizona’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion:

The opposition from prominent Republicans to the Arizona Supreme Court’s abortion ruling could mitigate Democrats’ turnout boost, according to polling analyst Jon McHenry.

“Typically where there’s been something on the ballot, it has helped Democrats — there’s kind of no way around it. The Arizona situation is going to be an interesting case, because you have so many high profile Republicans saying that this really went too far,” said McHenry. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens with turnout when you have Republicans, essentially on the same side, saying, ‘we need to repeal this.’”

To read the full article, please click here.

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/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, 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.