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Political Insiders Poll

October 4, 2012

How much has Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment hurt his candidacy?


Very damaging: 78%
Damaging: 22%
Not damaging: 0%

Very damaging


“His condescension and disdain for average Americans comes through loud and clear—that’s why Obama campaign keeps running the TV ad. It’s bad, and it’s in his own words.”

“Someone called it third-party validation of what Romney’s critics say about him, but it was far worse. It was first-party, personal validation. Gotta love those smartphones.”

“How convenient when a candidate says something that completely and totally reinforces everything his opponent has been saying about him.… Kind of like, ‘I was for it before I was against it.’ ”

“Absent a counter defining moment, it has changed this election and put Obama on a winning path.”

“Voters assumed he was elitist; he confirmed it. Confirmed elitists don’t get elected POTUS.”

“Na, na, na, na … hey, hey … good-bye!”

“It reveals either who he is or whom he will pretend to be—neither is a pretty picture.”

“It underscored just how out of touch with the real America he is. Half of the ‘47 percent’ vote is Republican!”

“I was surprised how damaging it’s been. Usually, when Republicans attack ‘those people,’ those people assume that they’re talking about someone else. Now that he’s put a percent on it, I guess people realize that Romney is talking about them.”

“Prior to the comment, Romney was holding blue-collar, noncollege voters; now, they’re leaking. Badly.”


“It’s not so much that the comments were damaging; it’s that he’s running out the clock when he’s behind. There were around 50 days until the election, and this wasted about a week. He keeps stepping on his message of the bad economy.”

“Not as bad as it could have been. Most of the people he was offending thought he was talking about somebody else.”


How much has Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment hurt his candidacy?


Very damaging: 18%
Damaging: 68%
Not damaging: 14%

Very damaging

“Alienating disabled vets, retirees, and the unemployed is not a prescription for GOP success.”

“He gave voice to the worst caricatures some have of Republicans: uncaring, selfish, and arrogant.”

“Half of the 47 percent are/were Romney supporters. He doesn’t understand the cultural makeup of today’s partisan coalitions.”


“How many more times can he reinforce the perception?”

“Gave a hook for the always-scrounging liberal media. Self-inflicted reinforcing [of] an image the media wanted to focus on.”

“The incident wasn’t so bad as the spin. Instead of using this as an opportunity to talk about the appallingly large number of Americans on assistance, it became an apology for not doing something more elegantly.”

“Damaging, not because it cost him votes but because he was unable to get his own message out for more than a week. It helped the Obama campaign skate on the Libya issue and ‘bump in the road.’ ”

“People want empathy, regardless of the facts. This makes it easy to spin that Romney is an elitist.”

“Amazingly, Romney is still in the ball game. Bad news for Barack.”

“It demonstrates poor political instincts, which is shocking in a candidate at this level. There were many ways to make his point without damage. The real problem is his tone-deafness to political discourse. Not a good sign.”

“Never tell the customers you don’t want their business.”

Not damaging

“His comment was no big deal, but the campaign’s response was lacking and lame. People are ready for a big debate over the growth of government—Romney/Ryan & Team need to give it to us.”

“I would say equal to Obama’s ‘You didn’t build that’ statement.”


Should the National Republican Senatorial Committee and other outside groups spend money to help candidate Todd Akin in Missouri?


Yes: 35%
No: 65%


“Romney will win the state in a walk—and his voters will vote for who? Not [Claire] McCaskill.”

“He’s not really outside their mainstream thinking, and she’s so beatable. They’ll be kicking themselves if they fall one seat short of the majority.”

“Regardless of the criticism they will get from our side, it is political malpractice to not support Akin.”

“Sorry for the cynicism, but has there ever been any doubt that party prevails over principle?”

“Let them fritter it away there. Akin is toast!”

“Democrats really appreciate the continued opportunity to drive women away from Republicans for years to come. Keep it up, Neanderthals!”


“Republicans should show their wingers that they won’t support a total crackpot. Long term, it is in the Republican Party’s best interest.”

“Do they really want that guy in the Senate for the next six years with a platform to continue to make them look like right-wingers? Come to think of it, maybe the Dems should support him.”

“This would keep this all alive and damage Republicans from Romney on down.”

“Even if the national groups don’t ‘officially’ help him, I’d predict he’s getting lots of ‘unofficial’ help. The balance of power in the Senate is too important for the R’s to ignore.”

“They should stay away. Winning the seat may be worse for their national brand than the benefit of ‘control’ over an uncontrollable Senate.”

“A yes answer is akin (pun intended) to an admission that one is simply a crass opportunist.”

“NRSC giving to Akin would kill other Republican Senate candidates who need to have something tangible to demonstrate distance from themselves and their party.”

“After what’s transpired, he’ll never be an accountable member of the Republican team.”

“Not unless they want to be further defined by the lunatics on the right, who continue to say things that aren’t often said in polite company.”


Should the National Republican Senatorial Committee and other outside groups spend money to help candidate Todd Akin in Missouri?


Yes: 46%
No: 54%


“Control of the Senate is at stake. So, as painful as it might be to support this clown, they really don’t have the luxury of writing off this seat—even if the candidate has redefined selfishness and taken it to a whole new level.”

“So long as this remains a single-digit race, the committee should play, given the fact that they have the resources to do so.”

“If Akin survives the current shelling and keeps the polling close, the national interest in Senate control will outweigh his stupid statement. I doubt he survives, so it’s a huge caveat.”

“Plenty of money, and McCaskill is still an ethical/ideological disaster for a majority of Missourians.”

“He can win. Whether that’s a good thing or not is open to debate, but the role of the NRSC is to elect Republicans. Period.”

“Many candidates have said worse things and received party support.”

“There is nothing more important than ousting Harry Reid from the majority leader’s office.”

“Do you want ‘Obamacare’ or not?”


“Does too much damage nationally. Pick your battles.”

“First, it is a fool’s errand; and, second, the money could be better deployed in states like Florida and Montana.”

“Ever since Akin opened wide and let fly, we’ve had to deal with an increasing gender gap in other states. We don’t want to confirm what moderate women seem to think about the Republican Party.”

“He is doing well as the candidate who is really flipping it to Washington. For the NRSC and all those guys to jump in would confuse his positioning and make them look weak and unprincipled.”

“There is a limit to complicity with stupidity.”

“McCaskill’s beatable, but Akin has a more radioactive quote collection than Sharron Angle.”

“If elected, he could likely be a caucus of one.”

“Honestly, our party has to start drawing a line and withhold support from candidates with whacked-out ideas. We have to start insisting on candidates with some brains.”

“Winning should never be more important than principle. If it is, we deserve to get beaten.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O’Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud. 

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