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Political Insiders Poll

Q: Who is most likely to capture the Democratic presidential nomination?

Democrats (88 votes)

                        Now             3/8/08
Hillary Rodham Clinton  17 percent      46 percent
Barack Obama            82 percent      53 percent
Neither (volunteered)    1 percent       1 percent



“Tough as nails, determined, and just keeps going. If you were not impressed by her before, you should be now.”

“If she keeps winning most contests, the supers will tip it to her because she is a better bet in November.”

“She has answered a few fundamental questions: Who is tougher? Who has been better vetted? And finally, who would the Republicans prefer to run against? It isn’t Hillary any longer.”



“Still has the delegate count and the war chest.”

“Democrats will not take the nomination away from Sen. Obama and risk the long-term alienation of a generation of younger voters and destroy the party’s political bond with African-American voters.”

“Barring a complete collapse in Indiana, he’ll have the delegates needed to win and avoid erosion of his expanding superdelegates.”

“He continues to have a substantial lead in delegates and the popular vote. He’s heading into better states, and he’ll maintain those leads. Hillary has become unelectable nationally against McCain.”


“It looks like Obama, in no small part because the media has so skewed the numbers. According to the pundits, if Obama is ahead in the eighth inning, we should call the game and not let the superdelegates have their turn at bat. It is bizarre.”

“HRC cannot win the nomination at this point. All she can do is prolong the agony—hers and ours—and help McCain along the way.”

“Sooner or later reality will sink into Camp Clinton that she can’t win on pledged delegates; and a nomination based on superdelegates’ overriding pledged delegates is a doomed nomination.”

“Clinton’s win in Pennsylvania nets her a whopping 10 delegates—it’s over.”

“All she has left in order to win is to keep moving the goalposts and make the case that she wins the ‘big’ states or the ‘critical’ states. It is just not a good enough argument for the superdelegates to give her the nomination, unless they want civil war and a sure loss in November and clearly they don’t.”

“I could say more here but am too angry. The narcissism of the Clintons has become near-pathological. They cannot win but can only continue to do damage.”

Republicans (89 votes)

                        Now             3/8/08
Hillary Rodham Clinton  17 percent      50 percent
Barack Obama            80 percent      46 percent
Neither (volunteered)    3 percent       4 percent



“With superdelegates, Obama may have the numbers, but it’s now mostly a game of public relations. If he has become ‘just another politician’ in the eyes of Democrat voters, they will choose Hillary because at least they know what they are getting.”

“Clinton will continue to hang in there, hoping for another Obama misstep or nuclear meltdown to scare the down-ballot superdelegates into joining her.”

“She won [Pennsylvania] and can make the argument to the superdelegates that Obama can’t win in the fall. His numbers will begin to fall under her barrage of attack ads. I am assuming she’ll have the money to stay in the race.”

“Will win Indiana and Puerto Rico, an indication that her coalition is broader than his.”


“In my heart, I feel that the Clintons are like vampires, somehow always able to rise from the dead. But I can’t see how the numbers allow them to get there. So I’m sticking with the O-man.”

“The superdelegates know that if he isn’t nominated the party will blow up.”

“The Democrats are having buyers’ remorse, but it’s too late to turn back now.”

“Hillary’s only remaining option is to win North Carolina and Indiana, and her scorched-earth policy is making enemies.”

“I’m beginning to have my doubts that he can hold on, but

I think the Democratic Party will implode if Hillary pulls this thing out.”

“The guy is like Reagan in two ways—golden tongue, Teflon skin.”

“Time, money, and numbers are in his favor: It’s too late to beat him.”

“The party will close the deal for him; a deal he hasn’t shown an ability to close himself.”

“She can still steal it from him, but each day, each primary result, each negative attack against Obama renders that a less likely outcome.”

Q: Which Democratic presidential candidate would do better against John McCain in November?

Democrats (88 votes)

Hillary Rodham Clinton  45 percent
Barack Obama            50 percent
Both (volunteered)       5 percent



“There is no stature gap between HRC and McCain, and she’s battle-tested and ready.”

“She has now made the case, ably assisted by Obama himself, that Obama cannot consolidate the broader Democratic coalition necessary to beat McCain.”

“With her, there would be no surprises. She’s been thoroughly tested. Obama remains untested, and Republicans will not hesitate to espouse and exploit unanswered questions about his relationships and experience.”

“If the election is about the economy, she can hark back to the ’90s. If it is about security, she can be against the war but still look tough.”

“She appeals more than Obama does to the voters who will decide the race.”


“While Clinton has done better than Obama with working-class voters in a Democratic primary, a general election is completely different. Obama still has the potential to expand the electorate in ways that Clinton cannot.”

“I think Obama reflects the future of the party and where we need to go. With Clinton we fight the last election.”

“HRC is simply too intensely disliked by too many people, fair or not. And we have seen the damage that can be done by her spouse.”

“He is the only candidate who can and has expanded the electorate by a significant number.”

“There is no joy in this assessment. We are caught between two flawed options—a fighter with impossibly high negatives, and a jazz singer who can’t find the right tune for True Grit America. And so we may lose the race that just six months ago appeared to be in the bag.”

Republicans (89 votes)

Hillary Rodham Clinton  55 percent
Barack Obama            42 percent
Both (volunteered)       3 percent



“She has less ‘risk’ on legislative and association angles for Republicans to capitalize on.”

“If she is nominated, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee are all in play. If he is nominated, McCain wins all of them.”

“She never gives up.”

“I used to think that Clinton would be an easier general matchup for McCain, because she is a polarizing figure that would fire up our base. But in recent weeks Obama has shown his true extreme-left colors, which won’t play in Macomb County, Michigan.”

“She has the gender advantage that’s built into the general election now, plus the toughness of a pure political fighter.”

“She keeps all the ‘bitter’ people in the fold.”


“He has the ability to make history in a way that would have a lot more people rooting for him than Hillary, without turning off one-quarter of the Dem base.”

“Obama draws a sharper contrast in a year with an unpopular war, a troubled economy, and a GOP president with record-setting negatives.”

“Obama, half-dead and brutalized, has less baggage than Sen. Clinton.”

“Hillary’s voters will back Obama; Obama’s voters will hate Hillary. And Obama’s age and crossover appeal is a better match against McCain.”

“While Obama might offer McCain a chance to pick up more Reagan Democrats, McCain would still prefer Clinton due to her vast, enduring unfavorables.”

“She can’t get to 50 percent plus one: too much baggage, too much entrenched dislike, too much resistance to another presidential dynasty.”

Democratic Political Insiders

Karen Ackerman, Jill Alper, David Axelrod, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Jim Craig, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Jeff Danielson, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Michael Donilon, Tom Donilon, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Gordon Fischer, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Don Fowler, Gina Glantz, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Michael Gronstal, Marcia Hale, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Mike Henry, Leo Hindery, Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Shar Knutson, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Sylvia Larsen, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Terry McAuliffe, Caroline McCarley, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, John Podesta, Tony Podesta, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Susan Rice, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Bob Slagle, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Darry Sragow, Karl Struble, Katrina Swett, Sarah Swisher, Eric Tabor, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Mike Veon, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, and JoDee Winterhof, Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders

Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Wayne Berman, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Rick Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Sam Geduldig, 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, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris Lacivita, Jim Lake, Chuck Larson, Steve Lombardo, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Bill McInturff, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Ed Rogers, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Don Sipple, Robin Smith, Javier Soto, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Eric Tanenblatt, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

This article appears in the April 26, 2008 edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.

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