Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Political Insiders Poll Political Insiders Poll

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation



Political Insiders Poll

Which Republican presidential candidate will ultimately prove to be Mitt Romney’s toughest competitor?

Democrats (93 votes)

Michele Bachmann: 0%
Newt Gingrich: 36%
Jon Huntsman: 1%
Ron Paul: 14%
Rick Perry: 1%
Rick Santorum: 48%


Newt Gingrich

“Mitt might think he’s done with Newt, but the catch is Newt, is not done with Mitt.”

“Newt’s got the chutzpah to tear at Romney in a way that the others don’t; he won’t hesitate to scorch the earth in the process. Whether he raises the resources necessary to do the job is another matter.”


“South Carolina and Florida did not get the onslaught of Newt assault ads. Once Santorum is exposed, Newt will be the last conservative alternative still standing, and he now has a vendetta for Romney. This could stay interesting for a while.”

“The angry history professor isn’t about to let anyone forget the old Mitt Romney. We will hear about ‘Romneycare’ and flip-flops every day now.”

Ron Paul

“Paul is the only candidate besides Romney who has the money and infrastructure to go the distance. Romney will probably have to fight Paul off again next fall.”


Rick Santorum

“Santorum can take up the ‘movement conservative’ cause without the likability issues of Newt. He will have to radically scale up his campaign in a very short period of time, before the Romney super PACs destroy him.”

“Santorum’s Iowa tie makes him a real Christian conservative place for those whom Romney leaves uninspired, and it shows he is a viable vote-getter that the Bachmann and Perry supporters can flock to.”

“Santorum’s unforced conservatism puts Romney’s waffling in stark relief.”

“No one else got any momentum coming out of Iowa. He, too, will likely fall into the ‘has been’ category sooner rather than later.”


Which Republican presidential candidate will ultimately prove to be Mitt Romney’s toughest competitor?

Republicans (89 votes)

Michele Bachmann: 0%
Newt Gingrich: 33%
Jon Huntsman: 3%
Ron Paul: 11%
Rick Perry: 2%
Rick Santorum: 51%

Newt Gingrich

“Newt has every incentive after Iowa to stay in and wreak havoc, so that after Romney flubs the general election and puts Obama back in office for four more years, Newt can hit the speech circuit, saying ‘I told you so.’ ”

“Not as a threat to win, but as an obstacle to close. Newt is heavy enough (as former speaker) and shameless enough (as Newt) to keep hammering, and even without money the press will cover him.”

“An angry, unhinged Newt is a danger to himself and other Republicans.”

Ron Paul

“Paul still has the ground game. All the rest should fade fast, post-New Hampshire.”

Rick Perry

“Perry’s continued presence in the race will keep conservatives’ money in their pockets—and from Romney.”

Rick Santorum

“Santorum will be the unlikely coalescer of the Right. As such, he becomes the final hurdle. He will be forceful, aggressive, and articulate but will ultimately lose.”

“Santorum’s conservative bona fides, plus his investment (admittedly on a shoestring) in a grassroots organization, is a life raft for the sinking Perry, Bachmann, and Newt ships.”

“He’s locked up the right wing at exactly the right time.”

“Santorum will be the Huckabee of 2012.”

“He’s the only one left standing—at least for the next 10 days.”

“But Romney’s toughest opponent may be an uninspired GOP that wants to beat Obama but can’t bring themselves to fall in love with him.”


Which party has the stronger hand in the upcoming congressional debate over extending the payroll-tax cut?

Democrats (96 votes)

Democrats: 98%
Republicans: 1%
Other: 1%


“The R’s are in an inherently indefensible position—for tax cuts for millionaires but against tax cuts for working people.”

“The Republicans lost their high ground when they couldn’t take yes for an answer.”

“The briar patch of our dreams. Keep throwing us in!”

“Republicans will get more out of the conference process than they got in the Senate bill, but Dems are happy to have the issue, so they have the leverage.”

“Republicans have blinked once and enter the new round of negotiations in a very weak state.”

This article appears in the January 7, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

comments powered by Disqus