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Political Insiders Poll

June 14, 2012

How detrimental to his reelection prospects is President Obama’s comment that the “private sector is doing fine”?

Democrats (95 votes)

Very damaging: 13%
Somewhat damaging:  63%
Not damaging: 24%

Very damaging


“The worst mistakes are the ones that are pithy enough for TV and that feed an existing narrative. This checks off both boxes.”

“Obama rarely misplaces a syllable but, wow, did he misplace this one.”

“What was the great communicator thinking? Note to Obama: When running for president, don’t channel your inner John McCain.”

Somewhat damaging

“Would that it were true—he’d be coasting.”

“It is really early in the campaign, but if used consistently and strategically by Romney and super PACs, it could become a difference maker.”

“In the battle of who is out of touch, Mitt (I-like-to-fire-people/My-wife-drives-a-couple-of-Cadillacs/Corporations-are-people/I’m-also-unemployed) Romney wins hands down.”

“It’s a minor distraction only because the media legitimizes a misspoken phrase as real news. The gaffe patrols need to stop on both sides.”

“His comments won’t mean a thing if the economy improves in the two months prior to the conventions; if not, we won’t hear the end of it. Dumbest thing he’s ever said.”

“The American people are smarter than we give them credit for in Washington.”

“It’s not as bad as not knowing what a bar-code scanner is, but it was semi-Freudian as to his day-to-day focus on the economy.”

“McCain’s ‘fundamentals’ quote didn’t swing the election, and neither will this. But it knocked them off their game. Better now than October.”

“Gone with Fourth of July fireworks.”

Not damaging

“The comment will be long forgotten by November, though I am sure there will be dozens like it on both sides to keep everyone busy.”


“In the silly season that we are in, this will pass, just like Romney’s dog on the roof of his car.”


How detrimental to his reelection prospects is President Obama’s comment that the “private sector is doing fine”?

Republicans (103 votes)

Very damaging: 63%
Somewhat damaging: 33%
Not damaging: 4%

Very damaging

“We all know that Obama wants a rerun of 2008, but we didn’t know he wanted to play the McCain part.”

“That could well be the comment that cemented the beginning of the end for the president’s reelection bid.”

“The RNC couldn’t have written the script better. And the full script, that the private sector is doing fine but the public sector needs to grow, plays exactly into the GOP’s narrative.”

“It reveals a level of cluelessness that goes well beyond ‘gaffe.’ ”

“As one who has assumed the president was going to waltz to victory, this statement has done more to make me believe that he is a paper tiger than any other he has uttered.”

“The worst comment of his presidency. It shows he just doesn’t get it!”

“Obama pulled the curtain back on his economic philosophy, which is that we just need more government workers and spending. That’s not selling with voters anymore.”

“This ranks as the president’s ‘Katrina’ moment.”

“He would have been better off yelling ‘macaca’ than saying these five words.”

Somewhat damaging

“Somewhere between dumb and catastrophic.”

“Adds to the story line that he’s the Alicia Silverstone of American politics: Clueless.”

 “Major stumble. The real damage won’t be known until outside groups have an opportunity to play it over and over in swing states.”

“More as a symptom of a bigger problem. The guy just doesn’t get it.”

Not damaging

“People have the attention span of a gnat. This will be over by ... well, it’s already over.”

“It’s a five-yard dropped pass in the first quarter.”


When do you think that voters’ perceptions of the economy will solidify to the point that they won’t change before the election?

Democrats (95 votes)

Already solidified: 12%
June-August: 16%
September: 39%
October-early November: 34%

Already solidified

“Barring something catastrophic or a major crash, there’s not much out there to change perceptions before November.”

“There are less undecided voters in June than we would normally expect in October.”


“Only the next three jobs reports matter, and they won’t be pretty!”

“History tells us that the election begins to ice over before the conventions begin and nothing short of cataclysm will change the order of finish. The summer is the general election.”


“Look, the 2008 election changed in September when the bottom fell out of the economy. While I don’t expect things to change dramatically this year, there is still time for voters’ perceptionsto change.”

“As people return to their normal routine following Labor Day, they will begin to more seriously consider the election, and if the economy is still struggling at that point, it will become increasingly more difficult for the president to recover—barring, of course, some type of ‘October surprise.’ ”

“The old saw about views solidifying five months out is probably moot in an age where economic swings happen so quickly and routinely.”

October-early November

“The difference between winning and losing will be decided by voters who virtually wait the distance until early November.”

“With information flowing and changing so rapidly, most are tuning in and out intermittently, and they will wait until the end to thoughtfully filter out a reasonably informed decision.”

“401(k) statements for the third quarter arrive in mailboxes around Oct. 15. That will be key.”


When do you think that voters’ perceptions of the economy will solidify to the point that they won’t change before the election?

Republicans (101 votes)

Already solidified: 19%
June-August: 24%
September: 42%
October-early November: 16%

Already solidified

“Some upticks or downticks in unemployment and job creation will have some impact, but the general view seems to be set.”

“The opinions are written in stone, but the responsibility for why we are where we are will be the focus of the messaging war and is still an open debate in the minds of independent voters who hate all of us.”

“The widespread, almost universal belief that the Obama economy is languishing cannot be changed prior to the election.”


“Studies show it takes four to six months for economic changes to filter down to the electorate. The clock has started.”

“The solidification process begins at the end of July. After that, voters check out to go on vacation, prepare their kids for school; and, by Labor Day, they look up and the election is here and the ads become white noise. The jobs report in July is going to be a big one.”


“By September, we’re past seasonal arguments about economic  trends and close enough to the start of early voting that opinions could be hard to change dramatically.”

“September has a history of being the month that makes or breaks candidates. This year will be no different.”

“Remember, more than 20 percent of the vote in many key states will be in the bank by Halloween. To be fully effective anymore, it has to be a September surprise.”

October-early November

“They are starting to gel, but consumer sentiment in October will be crucial. And a double-dip recession by that time is a distinct possibility.”

“Their perception about it being unsteady is already solidified, but how they personally feel about it won’t solidify until closer to the election.”


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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