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Magazine / 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)

November 18, 2010

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.”



“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.”

“Which is very little.”



“I expect the spirit of bipartisanship to improve in the next Congress, much like it improved in the two years following the 1994 election once the Republican efforts to shut down the government were not well received by the public, and President Clinton moved to the center and learned to triangulate.”

“With a Democratic president and Senate, and a Republican House, bipartisanship will have to happen for anything to get done for the American people.”

“I am hoping for increased bipartisanship in the new Congress because I am not sure less bipartisanship is possible.”

“There still won’t be a lot, but there will have to be some cooperative action whenever issues arise that require bipartisan crisis control.”


Republicans (37 votes)

Less: 11%             
(November 16, 2006*) Less:  24%

About the same: 35%            
(November 16, 2006*) About the same: 57%

More: 51%            
(November 16, 2006*) More: 16%

Depends (volunteered): 3%
(November 16, 2006*) Depends (volunteered): 3%



“The Senate may be the exception, but House Democrats and the White House show little intention to work with House Republicans.”

“Democrats are moving far left.”


About the same

“Though more is needed.”

“Although it will be up to Reid to set the tone.”

“Which is good for the D’s because we will never treat them so bad
as they did us.”



“Because it is almost impossible to have less than last year.”

“It is in the interest of both sides. But the cooperation will be between the Republican House Conference, the Senate, and the White House. Pelosi is already making House Democrats the irrelevant ‘odd man out.’ ”

“It all comes down to if the president wants more than one term. If
he does, he’ll play ball; if not, he’ll double down and get ousted.”

“I think the last remaining moderate Democrats will work with us.”

“Democrats ignored the other side of the aisle for the past two
years and suffered for it. Republicans can’t afford to risk the
same result.”

“Pelosi and Reid will find it impossible to hold their more compromise-minded members back when Obama and Republicans are looking to make a deal.”



“Totally dependent on whether the president believes in a midcourse correction. We already know ex-Speaker Pelosi’s playbook.”


Democratic Congressional Insiders  Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , 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, Mike McMahon, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, Pete Stark, Bart Stupak, John Tanner, 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, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar, 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, Charlie Dent, David Dreier, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, 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, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Phil Roe, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.

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