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Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

Is Obama to blame for November 2?


President Barack Obama speaks to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Who bears more responsibility for the Democrats’ losing the House?


Democrats (37 votes)


President Obama: 30%           
(November 16, 2006*) President Bush: 50%

Democratic congressional leaders: 24%                      
(November 16, 2006*) GOP congressional leaders:  24%

Both (volunteered): 24%           
(November 16, 2006*) Both (volunteered): 26%


Other (volunteered): 22%

*Question wording: “Who bears more responsibility for the Republican loss of the House and Senate?”


Congressional leaders


“The leadership was weak by not defending our accomplishments. In addition, they did very little to stop individual members from running away from our passed legislation.”

“The speaker’s inner circle repeatedly made it clear they didn’t mind losing the moderate members of the caucus; they should’ve realized that the committee gavels would follow the moderates out the door.”


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“They both failed to recognize and act upon the economy as the paramount concern.”

“The House paid the price for the mistakes of the president and
the Senate.”

“Twenty-five percent each and 50 percent the Supreme Court.”

“We all share the blame for failing to provide a cohesive message that demonstrated to the American people that we shared their priorities.”



“It was ‘the economy, stupid.’ ”

“The Supreme Court.”

“The president and House leaders worked tirelessly, but their accomplishments were distorted by the unprecedented infusion of corporate money into our political debates.”

“The tea party and the Republicans who embraced them.”


Republicans (37 votes)

President Obama: 38%           
(November 16, 2006*) President Bush: 58%

Democratic congressional leaders: 27%                        
(November 16, 2006*) GOP congressional leaders: 17%

Both (volunteered): 33%            
(November 16, 2006*) Both (volunteered): 17%

Other (volunteered): 3%            
(November 16, 2006*) Other (volunteered): 8%



“His policies, his watch, his agenda—and they lost.”

“Obama folded on his campaign promise to change Washington and opted for the status quo.”

“Policies are ultraliberal.”


Congressional leaders

“They marginalized their moderates and didn’t build any consensus outside the liberal wing of the Democratic caucus.”

“Just because President Obama tells you to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it.”

“He may have signed the bills, but they wrote them.”

“Speaker Pelosi: After the Scott Brown election, Obama was ready to call no joy on health care; but she doubled down, and they followed her like lemmings.”



“They can both proudly take credit for the largest GOP House victory in a lifetime.”

“Pelosi and Democrat congressional leadership for passing the failed stimulus package; cap-and-trade; and the trillion-dollar health care overhaul—and the president for letting them do it.”

“Nancy Pelosi turned the car to the left—to use the president’s favorite metaphor—and the president was a willing passenger.”

“They formed a suicide pact and succeeded.”


How much bipartisanship do you expect in 2011, compared with the current Congress?

Democrats (37 votes)

Less: 51%             
(November 16, 2006*) Less: 3%

About the same: 22%            
About the same: 15%

More: 24%            
(November 16, 2006*) More: 82%

None (volunteered): 3%

*Question wording: “How much bipartisanship do you expect in 2007, compared with the current Congress?”



“The new majority considers bipartisanship a weakness and compromise a sin, so that the 112th [Congress] will be less bipartisan than this Congress—hard to comprehend.”

“I think that Republicans feel an obligation to ram their agenda through the House. The party of ‘no’ will become the party of ‘we
will do it without you.’ ”

“No Republican will risk cooperating with Democrats on anything, lest they find a tea party opponent in the primary in two years.”

“Based on Boehner’s own words.”


About the same

“Which is virtually none: They were the party of ‘no’ this Congress, and GOP leaders have been quite clear that their goal for the 112th is to let nothing move.”

This article appears in the November 20, 2010 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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