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Congressional Insiders Poll


Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, prior to the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.(PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP)

Will Congress pass an extension of the payroll-tax holiday through the end of 2012?

Democrats (22 votes)

Yes: 91%
No: 9%



“But it will be another tightrope act for Boehner, who must convince his tea party-dominated caucus that they’ve lost this battle already.”

“We will pass an extension. The pressure will build on Republicans to do so.”


“Unless the GOP wants to join a real kamikaze unit.”

“Can’t imagine Republicans wanting to deal with this again before the end of the election.”

“Both parties have already agreed that extending the tax cut is imperative, and we are coming to the table with a shared commitment to meet that goal.”

“Both sides will agree to underfund Social Security.”


“They’ve got no choice!”


Will Congress pass an extension of the payroll-tax holiday through the end of 2012?

Republicans (18 votes)

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Yes: 94%
No: 6%


“The American people want it. It should have been done last year.”

“We absolutely need to do this; we cannot allow a tax increase to happen.”

“Neither side can afford to fail, and unlike the super-committee debacle, the political fallout will be immediate, not delayed. That will force agreement.”

“Lots of sausage-making to get there.”

“It won’t be pretty, but why should we expect anything different now?”


“Everyone wants it extended. No one wants to pay for it.”


During the week of President Obama’s State of the Union address, how would you grade the actual state of the union?

Democrats (22 votes)

Average grade: C+

A: 14%
B: 19%
C: 57%
D: 0%
F: 0%
No grade (vol.): 10%

B. “There is still much more that needs to move within the economy, but there are positive signs.”

B-. “The economy is still fragile, but it’s recovering, and we’re stronger abroad than we’ve been in years. Our political system remains on the edge of complete dysfunctionality, but perhaps we can get a little clarity with the upcoming election.”

B-. “The foreclosure issue must be dealt with in a smart, effective way. Until then, our national economy will not come back.”

C+. “Jobs are expanding. The GDP is growing. Debt is shrinking. But there is more to do.”

C+. “Economy is stabilizing, wars are ending. Restoring economic fairness needs to top the agenda.”

C. “Economy showing signs of a slow but sure climb. Ability to govern still a major negative.”

C. “No doubt we’re getting stronger, and we’ve made real gains abroad and in key domestic sectors, but with the number of unemployed Americans what it is, it’s tough to justify anything higher than a strong C.”

No grade. “Improving—but still recovering from Bush and Republican recklessness.”

No grade. “We are doing better and on an upward trend. The private sector is growing jobs, unemployment is down, and we are safer in the world.”


During the week of President Obama’s State of the Union address, how would you grade the actual state of the union?

Republicans (18 votes)

Average grade: D+

A: 0%
B: 11%
C: 44%
D: 33%
F: 11%

C-. “Thank God for the American people and the American spirit. We need to beware of those who would divide us.”

C-. “We’ve stopped the free fall, and we’re beginning to see signs of economic recovery, but the debt/deficits and spending propensity are a wet blanket over allowing economic growth at the rate we need.”

C-. “Failure of leadership and bureaucratic agencies run amok are severely wearing on job creators in our economy.”

C-. “We have a lot of problems, and the president doesn’t seem interested in working with House Republicans on anything.”

D. “Obama doesn’t know how to lead the country, the GOP House Conference hasn’t learned how to follow its leaders, and the Senate is dysfunctional. A country that needs bipartisan progress is about to get another year of partisan gridlock.”

D. “President Obama’s policies are putting us in a deeper hole.”


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, Kurt Schrader, 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.

This article appears in the January 28, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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