Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Congressional Insiders Poll Congressional Insiders Poll

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation



Congressional Insiders Poll

Click here to see how prominent political bloggers responded to these questions.

Q: What impact will Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch have on the outcome of major legislation in this Congress?

Democrats (38 votes)

A great deal    16 percent
A fair amount   32 percent
Only a little   47 percent
Not any          5 percent


A great deal

"Makes it possible for the Democrats to govern."


"Cloture counts."

A fair amount

"There are no more excuses for Sen. Reid."

"He's still squishy."


"The real test is if Arlen Specter comes to his senses on the Employee Free Choice Act."

"A Democrat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A Republican on Tuesday and Thursday. Three out of five isn't bad."

Only a little

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Sign up form for the newsletter

"He is a Democrat in name only. His actions will determine if he truly shares any of our philosophy, or if he is merely saving his own skin."

"We need to see if he is going to be a Democrat or an independent agent. That remains to be seen."

"The biggest effect will be the seniority bumps he makes."

"This specter will now haunt the Democratic Party."

"The real impact is on the Republican Party, which is in a vicious cycle of shrinking and homogenizing."

Not any

"It's still the Senate, where every yes/no question has 100 different answers. Here's hoping Arlen will be a team player on health care reform."

"He's still the same guy."

Q: What impact will Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch have on the outcome of major legislation in this Congress?

Republicans (42 votes)

A great deal     5 percent
A fair amount   43 percent
Only a little   43 percent
Not any         10 percent


A fair amount

"Democrats will learn to ride the roller coaster that is working with Arlen Specter soon enough. The biggest win for the Democrats is an extra vote on process."

"Sen. Specter is nothing if not unpredictable, but it will be less conspicuous for him to vote for cloture as a Democrat."

"However, it remains to be seen whether this will cause House Blue Dogs to now step up to the plate and defeat some of the most liberal bills."

"Trying to predict Specter's votes is like guessing what temperature it will be in [the] Cannon [House Office Building] on any given day."

Only a little

"This is about Specter; nothing more, nothing less. His philosophy is still the same."

"He's already shown that he will break with his new party. And on votes with a 60-vote threshold, he was with the Democrats as often as he was with Republicans. And it'll probably be similar to that now."

"He will be beholden to Obama much more now, but it won't change his vote all that much."

"He's not going to be a reliable vote for the Democrats. And he will be extremely hard-pressed to be re-elected next year, especially if Tom Ridge runs."

"Any real bipartisanship will be much harder to come by, but Democrats now have the votes they need."

Not any

"Sen. Specter's vote was already lost."

"Though perhaps the Democrats will now have an appearance of the Old Curmudgeon party."

"Sen. Specter was rarely with us when we needed him. And he didn't switch parties; he remains a party of one (S-Pa.)."

"It's not as if he's voting any differently than before. Now he just has a D next to his name instead of an R."

Q: Which of these steps, if any, should be taken in the wake of the swine flu outbreak?

Democrats (38 votes)

Spend more on stockpiling vaccines  82 percent
Limit liability of vaccine makers    3 percent
Enhance screening at borders 
   and other ports of entry         13 percent
None of the above (volunteered)     13 percent


Spend more on stockpiling vaccines

"We need to be ready in case there is an outbreak."

"Should show us how poorly prepared we are for emerging diseases."

"Vaccines should be the province of government as part of meeting its responsibility to protect public health. The private sector can be involved through licensing to produce the vaccines and making a profit, but when profits determine which vaccines get produced, we risk inadequate supplies for public health."

"Congress needs to make funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a priority equal to that of the National Institutes of Health. Prevention and education work hand in glove with research to make us all healthier and safer."

"Stop calling it the 'swine flu.' It is hurting our pork producers. It's H1N1."

None of the above

"Consider this crisis a test run. How can we use lessons learned to prepare for the next outbreak?"

"More attention/funds [for] vaccine science. We're still incubating vaccines in eggs? Please!"

"We need to look before we leap. We must learn from local response capabilities and determine what worked and what didn't before we take action."

"Tell the press to chill. This is much to-do about little. Focus on prevention, and save more lives and money."

Q: Which of these steps, if any, should be taken in the wake of the swine flu outbreak?

Republicans (42 votes)

Spend more on stockpiling vaccines  21 percent
Limit liability of vaccine makers   38 percent
Enhance screening at borders 
   and other ports of entry         57 percent
None of the above (volunteered)     10 percent


Spend more on stockpiling vaccines

"Turns out swine flu is as bad as--the flu, but stockpiles can't hurt."

"The best defense is just teaching people to wash their hands."

Limit liability of vaccine makers

"Hardly likely though, with Democrats in total control."

"Might help some, but only if a new vaccine must be rushed to the market with less than complete certainty to deal with a far more deadly influenza strain. H1N1 has exposed just how difficult it is to respond quickly to a new virus, natural or man-made."

"A major help would be for the administration and press to stop their hysteria and let the medical professionals handle it."

Enhance border screening

"If we can stop the infected from coming in via plane or across a border before they spread out across the country, it is worth the effort. It will also do much to calm the fears of those traveling, lessening the economic impact of the outbreak."

"I am yet to be convinced that this is even as serious as normal seasonal flu. If it is a serious threat, more needs to be done at the borders and airports. If it is not, they should stop panicking everyone."

None of the above

"The system worked pretty well. We will never be able to prevent a pandemic from spreading immediately, but local, state, and federal officials acted quickly to raise public awareness and contain the virus from spreading out of control. Now, Congress and the administration should review what worked and what didn't before wasting money on things that aren't necessarily needed."

"Stop inflating the issue. It's just the flu."

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Edward Kennedy, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Artur Davis, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Phil Hare, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Frank Kratovil, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Pete Stark, John Tanner, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, and Peter Welch.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, Jim Bunning, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, Mel Martinez, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Michael Castle, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, David Dreier, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, Bob Inglis, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.

This article appears in the May 9, 2009 edition of National Journal Magazine.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Sign up form for the newsletter
comments powered by Disqus