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Magazine / Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

November 17, 2011

How likely is it that the super committee will succeed in proposing a plan for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by its Nov. 23 deadline?

Democrats (26 Votes)

Very likely
Nov. 19: 8%
Oct. 8: 10%

Somewhat likely
Nov. 19: 23%
Oct. 8: 15%


Somewhat unlikely
Nov. 19: 35%
Oct. 8: 40%

Very unlikely
Nov. 19: 35%
Oct. 8: 35%

Somewhat likely

“Hope springs eternal.”

Somewhat unlikely

“I hope a deal can be reached that works for everyone, but I fear the Republicans will once again abandon what’s fair and reasonable for the irrational ideologues they answer to.”

“Republicans still don’t want to relent on taxes, so a deal looks increasingly unlikely. The only change is, they don’t want to be blamed for failure, and now it is dawning on them that a total reluctance to consider taxes means they’ll get the blame for failure.”

“I don’t think there is any likelihood that Republicans on the super committee will support a balanced plan that asks for the wealthiest to pay their fair share or includes real revenue on the table. They have not put forward a serious proposal that indicates a willingness to do that.”

“The Republican insistence on permanently extending the Bush-era tax cuts with no practical proposal to significantly increase revenue is a deal killer.”

“From everything we hear, it seems that they will not accomplish their stated mission.”

“But I’m still hopeful.”

Very unlikely

“Especially now that [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor has spoken out about keeping tax-cut pledges.”

“They reflect the Congress, which disagrees on taxes: If they do agree, how do they get it passed?”

“Passing the buck to the committees of jurisdiction with a funding target doesn’t count.”

“Hell has a better chance of freezing over.”


How likely is it that the super committee will succeed in proposing a plan for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by its Nov. 23 deadline?

Republicans (18 Votes)

Very likely
Nov. 19: 17%
Oct. 8: 21%

Somewhat likely
Nov. 19: 44%
Oct. 8: 58%

Somewhat unlikely
Nov. 19: 17%
Oct. 8: 13%

Very unlikely
Nov. 19: 22%
Oct. 8: 8%


Very likely

“Call me crazy, but I remain optimistic that both sides understand the enormous stakes and know failure will be disastrous for both parties, and an agreement will be reached.”

“When failure is not an option, you succeed. But it may take longer than the Nov. 23 deadline. As one famous U.S. Army unit once said of itself, ‘The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.’”

Somewhat likely

“Although it’s tougher to be an optimist as we approach Thanksgiving.”

“I think the super committee will get close to a plan for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, but what gap will be bridged by automatic cuts across the board?”

Somewhat unlikely

“Dems prefer the automatic cuts to defense over fixing our entitlements. What a shame.”

Very unlikely

“There doesn’t appear to be enough common ground to achieve enough deficit reduction.”

“We’ll likely get a ‘proposal’ from leadership at some point before Dec. 23.”


How would you grade the performance of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta so far?

Democrats (26 votes)

Average grade: B+

A: 42%
B: 46%
C: 8%
D: 4%
F: 0%

A+. “He got bin Laden, got the U.S. out of Iraq, and has not started another war.”

A+. “Panetta is a professional who puts doing the job well and making government function well above everything else.”

A+. “Leon needs to build trust and confidence (like he did at the CIA) before he can be himself and work on what has made the agencies he has headed successful.”

A+. “Leon for president. Decisive, great negotiator, and understands real people. And he has the humility to be president…. I might write him in!”

A. “Advocating early and often about the danger the Department of Defense faces from the sequester should earn him street cred with conservatives and Pentagon employees. Sets him up well to press for the tough reforms needed to make DOD more efficient and strategic.”

A. “Too soon to tell, but he has been a visible and reliable presence. Hasn’t come across as a partisan.”

B+. “Trusted, seasoned, politically astute.”

B. “It’s still early, and budget cuts are on the horizon. However, he did a masterful job at the CIA, and I’m hopeful he can have the same success at Defense.”

B. “We need to see better articulation of his vision of a 21st-century military.”

B. “If we, in fact, remove all troops by the specified dates, then both the president and Secretary Panetta will get a high mark from me.”

B-. “He has to face facts that the Pentagon must trim down.”

C+. “His insistence on no cuts in military spending is wrong.”

D-. “His comments on the budget cuts are calculated to gain favor within the department, not to serve the nation or the administration. It’s all about Leon.”


How would you grade the performance of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta so far?

Republicans (18 votes)

Average grade: B-

A: 18%
B: 59%
C: 24%
D: 0%
F: 0%

A+. “Assuming Panetta prevents Obama from allowing a sequester to occur. If he doesn’t, the grade becomes an F.”

A. “He’s been steady, communicative about our mission, a hawk, and talks to both sides in the Congress; and getting bin Laden and the continuing deterioration of al-Qaida is pretty hard to argue with.”

B+. “Off to a strong start, with solid bipartisan relationships on the Hill.”

B+. “It’s early, but he has provided good leadership this far.”

B. “We’ve made strides in eliminating senior al-Qaida leaders, and he’s ably made the case for funding our nation’s defense at reasonable levels.”


Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher A. Coons, Mark Pryor, Tom Udall; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly, Joseph Crowley, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Ed Markey, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Linda Sanchez, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, David Vitter; Reps. John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Jeff Denham, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

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