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Magazine / Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

October 23, 2010

What’s the best outcome of the midterm elections for President Obama?  

DEMOCRATS (109 votes)


Democrats keep the House and the Senate: 51%

Democrats lose the House, but keep the Senate: 35%

Democrats lose the House and the Senate: 14%


Keep the House and the Senate

“Republican control of Congress will mean nothing will change in D.C., and Barack Obama needs to be the candidate of change to win in 2012.”

“Even if Democratic losses are high, maintaining control of both chambers would be seen as a victory for Obama. Operationally, we will have a stalemate in Congress no matter what outcome.”

“It’s the only way he can move anything on his agenda. Hoping for anything else is incredibly crass and shortsighted.”

“If the GOP takes the House, the president and staff will need a legal defense fund to handle frivolous fishing expeditions that will cripple the White House.”

“I know it’s a current Democratic fantasy to think of what a disaster John Boehner will be, but having power is always better than not having power.”

“[Obama] may be a lot of things, but ‘Great Triangulator’ ain’t one of them. Lose the Congress and he may drip, drip, drip right back to Chicago in two years.”

“If the GOP takes over the House, they will use it as a launching pad to aggressively try to discredit the president.”

Lose the House, keep the Senate

“Lose the House so all fingers don’t point in one direction, but keep the Senate to maintain some control over the agenda.”

“Someone to run against and fewer chairmen with subpoena power.”

“This gives him negotiating room and a foil to run against in ’12.”

“Conventional wisdom, gives him a foil; unconventional wisdom, he is no Truman or Clinton.”

“Best outcome for Obama—postpone the election!”

Lose the House and the Senate

“Full Republican control would create migraines for their nominee.”

“He will have no more power if the Dems have 51 rather than 49, but he sure as hell will get blamed for everything.”


REPUBLICANS (106 votes)


Democrats keep the House and the Senate: 28%

Democrats lose the House, but keep the Senate: 35%

Democrats lose the House and the Senate: 37%


Keep the House and the Senate

“Obama is no Bill Clinton who figured out a way to work productively with Republicans. If Republicans take control of either chamber, Obama will be completely stymied.”

“Exceeds expectations, renews mandate while giving him room to tack to the middle for ’12. But it’s not gonna happen.”

“Obama would be able to claim victory and then use more narrow margins to embrace a more centrist agenda.”

“Anyone who thinks you win by losing is someone who is an expert at losing.”

Lose the House, keep the Senate

“That balance means he can’t do himself much more damage but still won’t get run over by Republicans holding both chambers.”

“Losing the House will give Obama something to run against. And [Speaker] Boehner will give him plenty of opportunities to do just that.”

“Provides him a foil to play against and a Democratic Senate will still confirm his appointments.”

“Forces GOP to have some responsibility for governing while giving Obama both a whipping boy and a firewall.”

Lose the House and the Senate

“There will not be any major POTUS initiatives passing Congress; might as well lose the Senate too and blame everything on GOP.”

“Republicans in control will force him to the middle and would most likely result in a second term for him.”

“The president’s popularity was built on reaching across party lines.”

“The president will follow Harry Truman and not Bill Clinton. Having the R’s control both Houses makes his strategy work better.”

“He needs targets to shoot at and the Republicans seem ready to stand up with a bull’s-eye on their chests.”

On balance, will the rise of nonparty campaign spending in this election cycle erode the importance of national party committees in future elections?


DEMOCRATS (109 votes)


Yes: 71%
No: 28%
Depends (volunteered): 2%


“There is just no way that highly limited public contributions can compete with unlimited, secret contributions.”

“Which was always the irony of McCain-Feingold: It killed political parties while it encouraged the rise of outside interests.”

“Party committees will still help to drive the recruitment process, but Election Day results will be affected by nonparty committee influence.”

“Under current campaign finance laws, the only real reason left for their existence is to put on a convention every four years.”

“Why would anyone with a lot of money to spend on campaigns want to give up control of how it is used?”

“Give the devil his due: Karl Rove neutralized the GOP’s biggest liability—Michael Steele at the RNC—with his personal national committee, American Crossroads.”

“Thanks, Russ Feingold.”

“It is simply a matter of math: The percentage of all political dollars spent by the national committees will decrease.”




“As voters grow more cynical of overblown ads on television, increasingly the most effective way to move voters is neighbor-to-neighbor ground operations, which the parties still are at the forefront on.”

“Who do you think is directing nonparty campaigns? People who are, or were, party insiders.”

“Never has, never will. America Coming Together and the Media Fund raised and spent $200 million in ’04 and people were asking the same question.”

“I’m not sure there is much left to erode.”


REPUBLICANS (106 votes)


Yes: 65%
No: 35%


“This is a direct result of McCain-Feingold, and unless the law is amended party committees will diminish in significance.”

“There are fewer people than ever aligned with one party or the other, and independent groups are now spending more money. Political parties may go the way of newspapers in terms of election impact.”

“Once large donors get used to not giving through the parties, they won’t go back. The RNC may never recover from this cycle.”

“The whole purpose of the McCain-Feingold law was to destroy the relevance of the National political parties. Mission accomplished.”

“Why reformers think limitations should be put on the only source of funding with full disclosure and a label on the ballot is beyond all logic.”

“Unless the national parties find ways to streamline and become less bureaucratic, their influence will continue to be diluted.”

“They have the benefit of unreportable and unlimited contributions without the silly political squabbles of the national committees.”

“The RNC may soon stand for Rove National Committee.”


“In the future, the RNC won’t be so weak ,and next year Congress will pass something that will make it more difficult for independent contributors in the future.”

“Most third-party groups are working with national committees anyway.”

“The parties still have enormous brand power, built from over a 100 years of effort. It’s much easier to get someone to volunteer
for the GOP or the Democratic Party than it is an unknown ‘527.’ ”

“Even though Republicans have found many ways to work around their own party, it makes life a lot harder.”

“Once [Michael] Steele is gone and there is a smart, effective, and trusted new chairman, the RNC will regain its credibility and importance.”


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, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Don Fowler, 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, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Terry McAuliffe, 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, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett Sarah, Swisher, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, 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, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, 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, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, 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, Barry Jackson, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris Lacivita, Jim Lake, 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, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, 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, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, 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, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

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