Ashcroft In America

America at the midterms

By Lord Ashcroft

With two months to go until the midterm elections, I have conducted a 6,000-sample poll of American voters to provide a snapshot of the national mood as the campaigns get fully into gear.

To start with the biggest-picture question of all, is the country heading in the right direction, or is it off on the wrong track?

Nobody will be surprised to hear that those who voted positively for Donald Trump overwhelmingly think things are going well, that those who did so reluctantly in order to stop Hillary Clinton are less sure, and that those who voted against him think things are going very badly indeed. Independent voters match the population as a whole – just over half say the country is on the wrong track, with 36% saying things are heading the right way.

What might be more significant is the change since we last ask the question nearly a year ago (more…)

Do not doubt Donald Trump – he could easily be re-elected

By Lord Ashcroft

This piece was initially published at TIME.com

If in November 2020 we are looking back on how Donald J. Trump came to be re-elected as President of the United States, those undergoing a second round of horror and dismay will find themselves reflecting on how seriously, and how often, they underestimated their foe.

The left has history when it comes to looking down on, and therefore underrating, its opponents. Ronald Reagan was derided as a genial but bumbling movie actor but was elected twice to govern both his state and his country. As was George W. Bush, who seemed to inspire a kind of hysterical contempt in his adversaries: Haha, he’s so stupid. He says words like “misunderestimate.” Oh, he’s beaten us. Again.

Donald Trump, by the same token, was surely too erratic and offensive and vulgar and narcissistic and unqualified to get his party’s nomination, let alone run an effective campaign. Let alone win.

You might think that the anti-Trumpists would have begun to learn from this long series of events, but apparently not (more…)

‘We didn’t elect him to be a saint, we elected him to be a leader’: my latest American focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

Last December the voters of Alabama did something they had not done for twenty-seven years – they elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. The extraordinary result prompted some to wonder whether the political tide could be turning, even in the Republican strongholds of the South. Last week I held focus groups in two neighbouring states, Tennessee and Mississippi, to take the temperature in the region, and to assess the current mood of American voters, especially those who had put Donald Trump in the White House.

 

Blue tsunami?

Phil Bryant, the Governor of Mississippi, was sanguine about the Alabama upset when I interviewed him in Jackson, the state capital. “I think it was an anomaly (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast: Tennessee & Mississippi

By Lord Ashcroft

Voters in Tennessee and Mississippi discuss Trump, Russia, North Korea, tariffs, flags, guns and Stormy Daniels, Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen predicts a ‘blue tsunami’ in November, and I interview Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.

“We have to acknowledge that Trump could be re-elected”: my interview with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook

By Lord Ashcroft

As Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook has seen the forces at work in American politics more closely than most. I interviewed him last week (you can listen to our full conversation here) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he is working on a project to protect democratic systems from cyber attacks and defend the integrity of elections, an issue that is close to his heart after the experience of 2016. Did he think the Russians had swung things for Donald Trump?

“I don’t think it matters whether it was a deciding factor in the election or not. The fact of the matter is, some people out there got information the Russians deliberately put into the bloodstream that was misleading, and it was done in an effort to help Donald Trump win (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast: my interview with Robby Mook

By Lord Ashcroft

Robby Mook was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, securing more votes than for any other candidate in presidential election history other than Barack Obama. I caught up with him at his new perch at Harvard University to talk about Russian interference, fake news, what Hillary was like as a candidate, the prospects for a second Trump term and what Democrats need to do to prevent it.

 

The People and President Trump: One year on

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week I wrote about how American voters – particularly the ones who supported Donald Trump last November – thought he was doing a year after they elected him to the White House. (You can hear them in their own words in the latest Ashcroft In America podcast). My new polling on how Americans see their President and some of the controversies that surround him completes the picture.

Despite the perpetual furore that surrounds President Trump, the vast majority of those who voted for him remain happy with their decision. Those who chose him positively, rather than as the lesser of two evils, are especially sure they made the right choice. On the other side of the equation, so are those who voted for Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, then, the country remains sharply divided as to the merits of its leader – a division that could hardly be missed when we asked our 13,500 respondents what word or phrase first came to mind when they thought of him (more…)

One year after Trump’s election, his voters still see him as a hero

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published at TIME.com

 

“I think he’s doing good. I think he’s what we needed to shake things up in this country.” “The stock market’s liking it. He’s doing well for my 401K.” “He’s trying. Nothing’s going to happen overnight, but he’s sure as hell trying.” The experts and commentators will have plenty to say about the year since Donald Trump was elected, but these remarks from voters who backed the president last November may well say a lot more about where he stands politically than the headline numbers, some of which put his approval ratings at a record low.

Last year my research team spent seven weeks in the US listening to Americans as they weighed their decision (observing, among other things, the striking parallels between Trump and Brexit). Returning last week to Wisconsin and Nevada, we found robust support for the President among those who had put him in office. He remains their guy, doing his best to change the way things are done in Washington and to put ordinary Americans at the heart of the political agenda, to the evident horror and dismay of those who have long profited from the status quo (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – election anniversary edition

By Lord Ashcroft

A year on from Donald Trump’s election, the Ashcroft In America team returned to find out how real voters think the President is doing so far.

“Dad’s home”: The first 100 days of President Trump, as seen from Texas

By Lord Ashcroft

The latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast is here

It may be a “ridiculous” way to judge success, as Donald Trump tweeted last week, but a President’s record after one hundred days in office has become an important benchmark, and Trump reaches it tomorrow. We came to Texas – widely seen as the quintessential red state, but one which he won by a much narrower margin than Mitt Romney managed four years earlier – to find out what the voters made of the show so far (more…)