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Political Insiders Poll

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being fatal, how much has the GOP primary hurt Mitt Romney?

Democrats (104 votes)

Average: 6.7


Low Damage (1-3): 6%
Moderate Damage (4-6): 28%
High Damage (7-10): 66%

Low (1-3)

“Despite the ‘conventional wisdom,’ a longer, tougher primary season makes for stronger nominees and better presidents; better to be the victor than the anointed.” 


Moderate (4-6)

“All primaries hurt the eventual nominee. While this primary has not been helpful, his problems with the base were there before the primary.”

“Primaries almost always look like they are more harmful in their waning days than they do by Election Day. This moment is, in all likelihood, as bad as Mitt Romney will look the entire cycle.”

“Not only was he pulled much further to the extreme right than most swing voters, he was exposed as an elitist and a flip-flopper, all at the same time. A disastrous trifecta for him and a messaging dream for the Democrats.”


High (7-10)

“The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, Romney was running ahead of to even with the president. Now he’s behind by 8 to 10 points.”

“Not fatal but a grievous injury. Voters in the center who decide elections just HATE the tea party sucking-up, and Latinos are moving to Obama in droves.”

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“In 30 years, I’ve never seen such a damaging primary season. Attacking one another is one thing. Attacking contraceptives and college is another.”

“Romney has been defined by it as antiwoman and anti-minority, and it will now take a major, unexpected turn in the economy or in foreign affairs to get him out of the hole he is nominated into.”

“To paraphrase Spinal Tap, this one should go to 11. He is damaged goods today in a way that he was not in January.”


On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being fatal, how much has the GOP primary hurt Mitt Romney?

Republicans (101 votes)

Average: 4.3

Low Damage (1-3): 42%
Moderate Damage (4-6): 43%
High Damage (7-10): 16%

Low (1-3)

“Every four years, reporters write this story. This will be old news soon, and voters will be focused on the next four years.”

“Winners win, and Romney won. The angst over the GOP base not coming together assumes there is not unifying hatred of Obama. That assumption is false.”

Moderate (4-6)

“Flipping Mitt’s image from net-favorable to net-unfavorable among swing voters costs more than the time and money lost.”

“A bit worse than normal but repairable and survivable, and he is a far better candidate than at the start.”

“In a few more weeks, this will be long forgotten. The spears thrown between the Obama and Romney camps will make the primary look like a spitball contest.”

“It hasn’t hurt him any more than a primary hurts any candidate for office. Every candidate has to be prepared to confront their negatives, and Romney is now ready.”

“The primaries have damaged his brand, but at the end of the day, the election will be a referendum on the president, not on how Romney handled his intramural scrimmage.”

High (7-10)

“Some of this will fade away, but Romney made enough gaffes to enhance the Obama campaign’s already-stellar opposition research book.”

“Republican activists have once again demonstrated that they excel at the art of purity over victory. They have proven that when they talk about the economy, they really are just using the issue as a screen to mask their extremist social agenda.”


Which presidential battleground state will play the most pivotal role in the general election?

Democrats (102 votes)

Ohio: 36%
Florida: 40%
Virginia: 14%
Pennsylvania: 6%
Colorado: 2%
Nevada: 2%


“Ohio. So what else is new?”

“It always comes down to Ohio. If you can’t win in Ohio, you’ll have difficulty throughout the Midwest.”

 “Any campaign pitting the 99 percent against the 1 percent will start in places like Ohio.”


“Obama is more likely to win in Florida than in Ohio, and he needs to win one of them.”

“If Obama wins Florida, the Republicans cannot get to 270. In contrast, Obama has several paths to victory.”

This article appears in the April 14, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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