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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

On balance, is it in your party’s interest if a government shutdown results from the fight over the continuing resolution?

Democrats (105 votes)

Yes: 56%
No: 29%
In neither party’s interest (volunteered): 14%
Obama and congressional Republicans benefit (volunteered): 1%



“When checks don’t get to seniors and soldiers, Republicans take the blame.”

“A shutdown showcases a showdown over priorities. And our priorities win.”


“After years of Republican wars and corporate tax breaks, I say, bring on the fight about what the government is paying for.”

“The Dems have more to gain because they can put a face on what were previously faceless cuts.”

“A shutdown will force middle-income [families] to really see how much government does to enhance the lives of ordinary Americans. So far, Republicans have convinced everyone that government does nothing.”

“Voters instinctively believe Dems will reasonably try to avoid a shutdown, while the GOP views it as a bargaining chip.”


“How could they do it again and think they’ll win anything?”


“Gingrich was viewed as a partisan figure who was unpopular personally and politically across a wide spectrum of the nation’s voters. The current situation could play out very differently.”

“Democrats shouldn’t assume history will repeat itself.”

“Democrats would make a huge mistake if they think that the outcome of outrage against the Republicans will repeat under entirely different circumstances. Work out a deal, demonstrate bipartisanship, and stick to your core principles—that’s a win.”

“Can’t help but make the president look like he’s not in control.”

In neither party’s interest

“Just when you think that Congress’s ratings could not get any lower, just see what happens if the government shuts down.”

“A shutdown helps neither party. It just makes both parties look incompetent.”


On balance, is it in your party’s interest if a government shutdown results from the fight over the continuing resolution?

Republicans (103 votes)

Yes: 19%
No: 65%
In neither party’s interest (volunteered): 11%
Depends (volunteered): 5%


“Obama and Dems will be forced to argue they can’t find a single dollar to cut this year.”

“The GOP has no choice but to stand firm on the budget-cut demands. National support and base consensus are stronger than in Gingrich’s era.”

“If Republicans can win the message war, then this illustrates that they will go to any length to prove to voters that they are following through on their promises from the election.”

“In this tea party-infused environment, who will lament the closure ofa federal government gone amok? Plus, I trust Boehner to learn from Gingrich’s missteps.”


“People want Washington to work; that will just show more dysfunction.”

“Can’t quite shake memories of ’95.”

“We need to [leverage] spending reductions and turn to the 2012 budget fight.”

“The Republicans look awful if there’s a government shutdown and they are seen to have caused it.”

“We always think it’s a good idea until we do it and get our butt kicked when real people start suffering for it.”

“Unfortunately, the media’s story line on a shutdown is already written, circa the 1995 template: Obstinate Republicans fail to govern in stark contrast to an engaged president.”

“Freshman members—go read the articles from 1995.”

“The president has the bully pulpit, and we’ll get our brains beat out.”

In neither party’s interest

“The only side that wins are the third-party activists.”

“Neither party will benefit. People want action, not a food fight.”


“This all depends on which party best frames the cause and meaning of the shutdown in terms that are understood by independents. This could go either way.”


Which party stands to gain the most from a showdown with public-employee unions such as the one in Wisconsin?

Democrats (106 votes)

Democrats: 62%
Republicans: 36%
Depends (volunteered): 2%


“[Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker took a fairly strong hand on budget cuts and overplayed it into a union-busting measure.”

“Some are overstepping, and this is looking more like union-busting than budget-balancing. It is energizing those who sat last November out.”

“The Republicans should be winning this, but when Walker let the argument go from money to rights he lost the winning hand. The fact that [Florida Gov.] Rick Scott is not willing to follow him should be sign enough that he has gone too far.”

“Democrats, if they don’t buckle. This is an assault on working families who are just trying to make an honest living. Hold firm, Democrats, and it might just look like this party stands for something once again.”

“The fight in Wisconsin will benefit Democrats; it will be viewed as a right-wing, hyper-partisan attempt to attack the right to organize and bargain.”

“Wisconsin presents the best opportunity in 30 years to frame the central role of unions in sustaining the middle class.” 


“Democrats are on the wrong side of history here—the middle class has less sympathy for striking public employees than it will for locked-out millionaire football players.”

“Public employees who are earning more, enjoy sizable and early pensions, and have better benefits than the average Joe should probably find another way to make their point.”

“They don’t risk infuriating and disarming an important ally, and they confirm the existing preconception that they are tougher on government fraud, waste, and abuse than the Democrats.”

“The die is cast, and as ham-handed as Walker is on this, his side has history, and money, on their side for the long haul.”


Which party stands to gain the most from a showdown with public-employee unions such as the one in Wisconsin?  

Republicans (106 votes)

Democrats: 7%
Republicans: 90%
Depends (volunteered): 2%
Public-employee unions lose (volunteered): 1%


“The truism of American politics is that voters love the idea of smaller government but often can’t stomach specific cuts, especially when they come out of neighbors rather than generic-sounding programs.”

“Probably the Democrats, but the Republicans deserve credit for having the courage to take on a very challenging issue.” 


“When public employees start getting wage-and-benefit packages larger than the private-sector workers who pay for them, Republicans have the upper hand.”

“Independents are fed up with greedy public-sector unions that resist sacrifice, and Republicans will energize their tea party faction.”

“The Democrats and the unions look bad in this fight in Wisconsin, especially if they continue to obstruct public services and close the schools.”

“Republicans should be picking these kinds of fights everywhere.”

“Custer’s last stand for public-employee union with the same result: Think Reagan and PATCO.”

why they are fighting the fight and beat Democrat attempts to make this about a war on the middle class.”

“It could help Democrats rile up their base, but the president and his party have quickly lost their reform sheen as a result of siding with the status quo on big spending and Big Government.”

“Provided GOP stays consistent in its messaging and makes it clear

“National liberals weighing in to protect out-of-whack pensions for public-employee unions prove that they did not get the message of the last election. This is potentially the defining moment of the cycle.”


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, 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, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, 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, Michael Meehan, 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, Doug Thornell, 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, 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, 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, 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, Barry Jackson, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, 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, 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, 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.

This article appears in the February 26, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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