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

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…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – Episode 7 – Florida

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast I interview Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe; pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson tells us what the numbers say about the election result; historian Jon Darman considers whether we could be in for a Hillary landslide; and Hispanic voters in Miami and military families in Tampa tell us how they see the presidential and Senate races in the ultimate swing state.


Ashcroft In America podcast – Episode 6 – Arizona

By Lord Ashcroft

In Episode Six of the Ashcroft In America podcast, I speak to the BBC’s Jon Sopel about covering Washington as a foreign correspondent and why people in Britain often misunderstand America, Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic tells us why the traditionally Republican state could go either way in November, the Latino rights activist Petra Falcon explains the voter registration drive that could swing the election, and the voters of Phoenix react to the week’s campaign news.



My US election focus groups in Phoenix, Arizona

By Lord Ashcroft


In last week’s Philadelphia focus groups, Donald Trump’s supporters brushed aside the recording of their candidate’s unseemly conversation about women. Since then, a number of women had come forward to claim he had assaulted them – was this beyond the pale? Perhaps surprisingly, none of the Trump supporters we spoke to in Phoenix this week argued the allegations were false – just that there were more important things at stake (more…)

‘It will be very difficult for Humpty Dumpty to be put back together again’: Mitt Romney on running for president and the future of the GOP

By Lord Ashcroft

Mitt Romney is a successful businessman, a former Governor of Massachusetts, a father of five and a grandfather of twenty-four (yes), and one of the few people in the world who can answer the question I most wanted to ask when I sat down with him at his home in San Diego: what is it like to run for President of the United States?

“You know, I think most people would assume it’s a gruelling, awful experience. I would tell you that it is exhausting, but it is invigorating at the same time… I say to friends, if you get the chance to run for President of the United States, do it. It’s a great educational and uplifting experience.”

Romney’s father ran for President in 1968. “I saw him lose. He used to joke that his campaign was like a miniskirt, short and revealing. My campaign was longer, but also revealing (more…)

My interview with Mitt Romney

By Lord Ashcroft


Mitt Romney is a successful businessman, a former Governor of Massachusetts, and in 2012 was the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

He is one of the very few people who knows what it’s like to run for the highest office in the land. I sat down with him at his home in San Diego to ask him about the experience – how he decided to run, how he set up his campaign, what it was like to receive the nomination and when he realised he would not win the election. We also talked about the international situation, Brexit, Donald Trump, and why the Republican Party will need a Churchill, Eisenhower or Reagan figure “to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”


‘He’s different like a drunk uncle’: my US election focus groups in Philadelphia

By Lord Ashcroft

The latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast is here

In last week’s edition of the Ashcroft In America  podcast our co-presenter Elise Jordan coined the phrase “kamikaze Donald Trump” to describe the recklessness that led had led him to tweet derogatory things about a former Miss Universe, at three a.m., five weeks before he hoped to be elected to the White House. As our focus groups confirmed, voters needed to see a more presidential version of Mr Trump if he was to seal the deal with waverers worried about his character and temperament.

So much for that (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – Episode 5 – Pennsylvania

By Lord Ashcroft


In Episode 5 of the Ashcroft In America podcast the crucial voters of suburban Philadelphia react to the leaked Trump tapes, conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes talks about conspiracy theories, the media, and “post-truth politics”, John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News assesses the political state of play in Pennsylvania, and I talk to Democrat strategist Lis Smith about the level of confidence in the Clinton camp.


‘I may think he’s a despicable person, but I’m not gonna not vote’: my Trump-Clinton focus groups in Virginia

By Lord Ashcroft

Click here for the latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast


Like last week’s destination, North Carolina, Virginia was once a reliable part of the Republican bloc, voting for the GOP candidate in all nine presidential elections from Nixon in 1968 to George W. Bush in 2004. Barack Obama put a stop to that, winning by six points in 2008 and four points last time round – but if the Republicans are to win the White House, they need to put Virginia back in their column.

This won’t be easy. Its Governor is a Democrat, as are both the state’s Senators – one of whom is Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate. But the GOP still have a big presence here – eight of the state’s eleven seats in the House of Representatives are held by Republicans.

Virginia is where North meets South, both historically and politically (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – Episode 4 – Virginia

By Lord Ashcroft

In this week’s edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast I talk to the University of Virginia’s Dr Larry Sabato, creator of ‘Sabato’s Crystal Ball’; Trump Virginia campaign chairman Corey Stewart talks about his candidate’s prospects in the state; Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Shapiro explains why Virginia explains the politics of the state; and local voters discuss Donald Trump’s tax returns, rigged elections and the Miss Universe tweets.