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Political Insiders Poll

After which of these remaining primary dates will the Republican presidential nomination be effectively cemented?

Democrats (101 votes)

South Carolina (Jan. 21): 25%
Florida (Jan. 31): 49%
Nevada (Feb. 4): 7%
Super Tuesday (March 6): 17%
Other: 3%


South Carolina

“Tea party activists are learning to love Mitt. If Mitt wins in S.C., it’s all over for the other candidates.”

“Huntsman, who was Romney’s only competition for mainstream Republicans, is essentially out. The right-wing anti-Romney field remains split. Unless they can consolidate around one candidate, Romney will soon be the presumptive nominee.”


“If Romney wins South Carolina, it’s over. Barring a total collapse there, he’ll be the GOP nominee.”


“Florida always decides.”

“Four survive South Carolina, and after Florida, just Ron Paul continues.”


“Everyone but Romney will be finished after South Carolina. The problem is, they won’t be able to believe it until Florida.”

“If Romney keeps winning, none of the others will be able to beat him. He will win by default because the tea party wing can’t seem to find one candidate around which to rally.”

“Sadly, the cage match will be over in Florida.”

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“Ron Paul will hold out that long, though Romney will declare it over next week.”

Super Tuesday

“Even though Romney is clearly the selection, he will need to get several more wins before he can be considered the nominee.”

“Republican voters still have not warmed to Romney, and there continues to be a window for an alternative. He wouldn’t be the presumptive nominee but for the fact that all, every one, of the others are falling in front of him.”

“Super PACs give new meaning to Super Tuesday!”


“New Hampshire—the Romney machine is simply too well developed and strong at this point.”


After which of these remaining primary dates will the Republican presidential nomination be effectively cemented?

Republicans (101 votes)

South Carolina (Jan. 21): 23%
Florida (Jan. 31): 55%
Nevada (Feb. 4): 1%
Super Tuesday (March 6): 18%
Other: 3%

South Carolina

“Romney is on a roll. A first- or second-place finish for him in South Carolina pretty much will seal the deal.”

“If a conservative can’t stop Romney in South Carolina, it won’t happen anywhere.”


“South Carolina will make it a two-man race. Florida will be the first two-man race where Romney will need to show he can win.”

“South Carolina is always a messy affair. I just can’t believe the Romney campaign will be able to coast through that easily. If they do, he is a much, much stronger candidate than anybody gives him credit for.”

“Mitt wins Florida and it’s all over, even if he places second or third in South Carolina.”

“Florida will break the bank for everyone else.”

“Everybody but Romney (and maybe Paul) runs out of gas after Florida.”

“On Jan. 31, Republicans get squishy Mitt Romney, and Obama gets his second term.”

Super Tuesday

“South Carolina and Florida will eliminate two or three of the candidates, but conservatives will want to consolidate behind one candidate to see if they can knock out Romney for Super Tuesday, which has several Southern states.”

“Proportional awarding of delegates through March will keep this saga going until the big roundup.”


“New Hampshire. South Carolina could have revitalized one of Romney’s competitors, but it can’t reanimate them. By winning Iowa and meeting expectations in New Hampshire, the man who started this with the most money and the best organization has already won.”


On balance, are super PACs positive or negative for the political process?

Democrats (100 votes)

Positive: 6%
Negative: 94%


“The process of bundling checks has always been silly. Rich people needed to find ways to give, and they did it in multiple ways. Now, they don’t worry about that and just write a check.”


“The wealthy shall inherit the political terrain.”

“The way we finance our politics is a cancer on our democracy.”

“It pushes what is the worst aspect of the system to its extreme.”

This article appears in the January 14, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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