‘The voters had their eyes wide open’: my presentation to the IDU on Trump’s election

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By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of a presentation I gave yesterday at a meeting of the International Democrat Union in Munich, summarising my research on the US elections.

Good afternoon everyone. This event is very well timed, since the research I am about to share is described in more detail in my new book, which is out this week. It is available from Amazon or direct from Biteback Publishing. I am sure you will all take the chance to help a struggling author.

As you will know, my interest in polling goes back some twelve years, when I decided to look into the question of why the Conservative Party kept losing elections. Since that time, most of my research has been focused on British politics, but the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton demanded a closer look (more…)

‘Hopes And Fears: Trump, Clinton, The Voters And The Future’

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By Lord Ashcroft

In the weeks before the presidential election my polling team conducted focus groups in seven swing states listening to voters talk about the decision that lay before them. At the same time, a poll of nearly thirty thousand Americans revealed more about the country that sent Donald Trump to the White House.

All my Ashcroft In America research is brought together in my new book, Hopes And Fears: Trump, Clinton, The Voters And The Future. My first aim is to help understand how the result came about – and, crucially, that the American people made their choice with their eyes wide open (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – The Transition

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast I speak to three top Washington reporters – Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Dan Balz of The Washington Post and Anna Palmer of POLITICO – about the transition and what we can expect under President Trump; plus Stephanie Cutter, former adviser to President Obama, and Republican strategist Jeff Larson talk about what they think the future holds for their respective parties.

 

If you don’t listen to the voters, someone else will: the real lesson of Trump

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By Lord Ashcroft

You’d think the world had come to an end. Anguished commentators have reacted to the US election as though it heralds the end of liberal democracy as we know it. The result was undeniably dramatic and will have consequences we can’t foresee. But I think the explanation for it is rather more prosaic: like every electorate everywhere in the world, American voters had a choice of imperfect outcomes, and they took a deep breath and made it. As is always the case, some are horrified by the voters’ decision – but their grief has carried them away, and is preventing them from learning the right lesson from Donald Trump’s victory.

In just over a decade of research, I have made something of a study of how losing political movements react to defeat. Though circumstances differ, most have one thing in common: they claim, at least inwardly, a moral victory (more…)

The unexpected way Donald Trump is like Barack Obama

By Lord Ashcroft

 

This article was first published at TIME.com

Last week I argued that Donald Trump was like Brexit in three ways: both harnessed a desire for real change; voters balanced the prospect of that change against an unquantifiable risk; and many in politics in the media failed to understand that reasonable people might vote for something the establishment thought unthinkable.

Now we can add two more. The fourth is the dawning realisation, as the results pile up during the night, that something unexpected is happening and that the polls and pundits have once again been confounded (more…)

How would Trump and Clinton supporters react to defeat tomorrow?

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By Lord Ashcroft

More than half of Republicans will blame the media if Donald Trump loses the presidential election tomorrow, according to my poll of American voters.

Asked what would be the most likely explanation if the result went against them, 54% of Republicans chose “the media has worked overtime to undermine the candidate you supported”. A further 25% said they would blame “a systematic effort by the authorities to rig the outcome” (more…)

Donald Trump is like Brexit in three key ways

By Lord Ashcroft

This piece was first published at TIME.com

“BEYOND BREXIT!” “Brexit plus!” “Brexit times ten!” Throughout his presidential run Donald Trump has claimed the mantle of the campaign that mobilised popular discontent to defy the odds and take the UK out of the European Union in June’s referendum.

And with some justification. For the last seven weeks my polling team has conducted focus groups around the U.S. for my Ashcroft In America project, and the first things to strike us were the echoes from the polling on the British referendum that occupied the first half of our year. There are three essential parallels.

First, the Trump and Brexit movements have both harnessed a desire for change that goes beyond dry questions of policy (more…)

‘Do we want him smacking the Queen of England’s butt?’ My final pre-election focus groups in Ohio

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By Lord Ashcroft

The final edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast is here

Presidential candidates live in terror of the October Surprise – the out-of-the-blue event that can turn the race upside down. Last Friday it seemed that one had arrived when the FBI Director, James Comey, wrote to Congress disclosing that the Bureau had learned about further emails that “appear to be pertinent” to their earlier investigation of Hillary Clinton. The announcement caused a huge row in Washington, with Democrats complaining that Comey had politicised the investigation and Trump seizing on the news as further evidence of Hillary’s crookedness. What effect would this momentous development have on undecided voters in the final week of the campaign?

A pretty negligible one, to judge by our focus groups in Cincinnati (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – Episode 8 – Ohio

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By Lord Ashcroft

With days to go before the presidential election, undecided voters in Cincinnati react to the latest chapter of the Clinton email saga and talk about the decision they have to make next Tuesday; Henry Gomez of the state’s biggest paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, tells us why early voting here could give Hillary the advantage; and I interview former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt about the prospects for the election and the future of American politics.

 

‘He’s tapped into something really down and dirty in our country’: my focus groups in Florida

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By Lord Ashcroft

Since the recount that transfixed the world sixteen years ago, Florida has become known as the ultimate swing state. With one exception, Florida has been carried by the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1964. Most recent polls here give Hillary Clinton the edge in the presidential race, but since both she and Donald Trump have visited Tampa this week, it is clear neither side thinks the race here is over. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator who was one of Trump’s rivals in the primary, faces a tough battle to hold on to his seat on Capitol Hill.

According to Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show and a former U.S. Congressman from the Florida, his home remains “a true swing state” despite having voted twice for Obama, with most polls showing Hillary Clinton ahead. “You just have to elect the right type of Republican that can win there. And Donald Trump, and his attacks on Hispanic voters, especially Mexicans at the beginning of the process just didn’t help him with the large numbers of Hispanics in the state of Florida.”

That was certainly borne out in our focus groups with Hispanic voters in Miami (more…)