Ashcroft In America

Trump stands a better chance of re-election in November than you may think

By Lord Ashcroft

The Coronavirus has changed the world, at least for the time being. But how much has it changed politics? It would take a brave soul to make any kind of projection about the long-term effects of the times we are living through. But my latest polling in the US, collected in my new report The Home Stretch: Campaigning In The Age Of Coronavirus, suggests that the biggest political effect of the current crisis might not be to change people’s minds, but to make them feel more strongly about what they think already.

In the red corner, we have Donald Trump’s 2016 voters. They have remained loyal throughout his presidency, and I found nine in ten of them approving his performance to date, most of them doing so strongly. Almost as many say he has been at least as good a president as they anticipated, with more than half of them saying he had surpassed their expectations.

They rate him highly on all policy areas, especially the economy, national security, immigration and (despite the impression you might get from Twitter) America’s standing in the world (more…)

Counting on Trump’s performance to see him kicked out? I wouldn’t bet on it…

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday

As a woman in Michigan put it during my latest round of polling in America: “It’s almost painful to watch. I have to change the channel.” But her comment did not refer to the scenes played out in hospitals and elsewhere as the coronavirus wreaks havoc across the US. Instead, she was talking about Donald Trump’s performance alongside doctors and scientists in daily press conferences that have transfixed the nation. “He’s missing the compassion gene,” said another. “He goes off on a tangent about how rich he is and how he doesn’t need a paycheck. It’s not what people need to hear right now.”

Both remarks were from people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but were now having second thoughts. Like many others, they were horrified that the country had seemed so unprepared, with such vital things as ventilators, testing kits and protective equipment for health workers in short supply. People felt the response had been too slow, not least because the President had initially downplayed the seriousness of the situation and had failed to underline its dangers. They lamented a lack of leadership at the national level: “You don’t know who’s in charge, who is the adult in the room,” as one confused observer put it. The President’s references to the “Chinese virus” were considered very unhelpful even by those who thought they contained an element of truth.

These reactions chime with a widespread view that the crisis spells disaster for Trump’s chances of being re-elected in November. Strikingly, though, I found that those most critical of the President – aside from those who had never liked him in the first place – were those who were already disillusioned with him before the current crisis hit (more…)

Think this impeachment hearing’s the end of Trump? Don’t bet on it

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday

For now, all eyes are on the extraordinary spectacle of a televised attempt to impeach Donald Trump. Yet only a year from now, the presidential election will be over, the votes counted and the victory speeches made. By whom? Most polls currently suggest it will be a Democrat who finds himself or herself huddled with the a transition team while Mr Trump contemplates a return to his newly-chosen home state of Florida.

My advice is that anyone planning to bet their house on such an outcome had better line up a friendly neighbour with a spare room, just in case (more…)

Trump’s final countdown? It’s one year to the next presidential election

By Lord Ashcroft

It’s the first Tuesday in November, which means that 52 weeks from today, Americans will be voting on whether or not to give Donald Trump a second term in the White House. My latest research sheds some light on what voters are thinking with a year to go – and why the outcome is anything but settled. The full findings are set out in my report, Trump’s Final Countdown?, but here are five of the main points.

 

Trump’s 2016 voters approve of his performance – but with wide variations

My 15,000-sample survey found voters disapproving of President Trump’s performance by 56% to 40%. More people said they “strongly disapproved” than the total with a positive view. (more…)

“Candidates are supposed to pay attention to the voters’ backstory, not the other way round”: my E2 Summit speech

By Lord Ashcroft

Each year Mitt Romney puts together a meeting of ‘experts and enthusiasts,’ the E2 Summit in Utah. This year he invited me to speak about what my research had to say about political disruption in Britain and America, its causes and consequences. This is what I had to say:

In recent years, political change has arrived in some unexpected forms in both our countries, and it’s hard to know what to expect next. I have spent some time trying to make sense of the disruption through my opinion research on both sides of the Atlantic.

This began 15 years ago when, as a longstanding donor to the Conservative Party, I decided it was about time someone made a proper study of why we kept losing general elections – usually after being reassured by the party hierarchy that we were on course for a famous victory. I published the findings under the unambiguous title Smell The Coffee: A Wake-Up Call For The Conservative Party, and on the strength of this, David Cameron appointed me the party’s Deputy Chairman to help ensure its lessons were acted upon. Since stepping down from the role I’ve continued with the research, since it struck me that while commentators were always blessed with an abundance of opinion, real evidence was in rather shorter supply (more…)

The Battle Lines for 2020 – what my polling says about the next Presidential election

By Lord Ashcroft

My presentation to the International Democrat Union executive meeting in Santiago, Chile, looking at what my polling shows about the prospects for the 2020 US Presidential election.

 

Since the midterm elections in November I have conducted further research looking at the state of play at the midway point in Donald Trump’s term – or should that be his first term? This is presented in detail in my latest book, Half-Time!, which also brings together more than two years of my work on the Ashcroft in America project. The aim is to work out where the American public is and where is seems to be heading as the battle lines are drawn for the 2020 election. I will set out some of the main points here, but do take the chance to help a struggling author and get hold of a copy either from Amazon or direct from Biteback Publishing.

I should say at the outset that there have been a few developments since the work I’m going to talk about was completed. One of these is the announcement that the Mueller investigation has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election (more…)

‘There’s not going to be a single Democrat that can go toe-to-to with the President’ – my interview with Trump press chief Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

If you enjoyed the last presidential election, you’ll be delighted by the thought that we’re only 20 months away from the next one. Characteristically enough, Donald Trump declared his intention to seek a second term earlier than any previous incumbent, and his campaign is already in what Americans like to call “the staffing up process.” One of the earliest senior appointments is Kayleigh McEnany, the former CNN commentator named earlier this month as the campaign’s national press secretary. I met her last week at the Trump campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia for a discussion you can hear in full in the latest Ashcroft in America podcast.

If candidate Trump’s slogan in 2016 was Make America Great Again, I asked, how far is he going to claim to have achieved that by 2020? “Moving forward, it’s ‘keep America great’ (more…)

Ashcroft in America podcast – my interview with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft in America podcast I speak to Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, about the President’s record, the prospects for 2020, his likely opponent, and communicating with sceptical voters in an age of fake news.

 

The Republican Party’s best hope for 2020? The left’s indignation

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published at TIME.com

This past weekend marked the midway point between the last presidential inauguration and the next one. The contours of the race to decide who gets to deliver the next inaugural address are already beginning to emerge, and it promises to be no less spectacular than the last one. My research over the last two years, including a survey of 15,000 people conducted after November’s midterm elections, gives some clues as to how the battle might unfold (more…)

My new book on President Trump, American voters and the 2020 election

By Lord Ashcroft

The start of 2019 is midway between the last presidential inauguration and the next – but will it also prove the halfway point in Donald Trump’s presidency? Following up Hopes and Fears, which set out why America sent Trump to the White House, Half-Time! American public opinion midway through Trump’s (first?) term – and the race to 2020 brings together more than two years of research from my Ashcroft in America project, exploring what the voters make of the President’s agenda and character, how they see the issues at stake and – with voices at the far ends of the political spectrum set to dominate the debate – how they are lining up for the 2020 election.

The book is now available to order from Biteback Publishing (more…)