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Political Insiders Poll

January 12, 2012

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.”


“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.”

“Super PACs inject loads of money into the system with no limits and little transparency. What’s not to hate?”

“They undermine democracy and make the system less transparent. It’s also wrong that a candidate can no longer control his or her destiny and could be doomed by a rigged system. It’s one of the reasons why voters hate politics—and it’s going to make it even worse.”

“We need more direct accountability. We need limits on campaign contributions and spending. Candidates should control their campaigns and be held accountable for them. The amounts of
money and influence they represent are rotting our democracy.”

“Super PACs are taking the primaries away from the candidates and the voters, and putting them in the hands of, literally, a few rich white guys.”

“Unlimited money from unidentified people. Could we think of something more pollutive of the political process? Probably not.”

“Corporate money now RULES politics. Ask Newt Gingrich.”

“Super PACs cannot be held accountable. This is just the beginning of the outrageous ads and the inability of anyone to find the truth.”

“It’s a farce that these PACs are independent.”

“Really concentrates the ability to affect outcome in the hands of a few corporations and individuals with deep pockets. Opposite of a democratic process.”


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

Republicans (99 votes)

Positive: 59%
Negative: 41%


“Free speech is always positive.”

“More information leads to better-informed voters.”

“At least supporters of candidates are involved this way, as opposed to allowing the media to be the sole arbiters of what information is shared.”

“Better if the candidates had a chance to raise and spend the money and control the message themselves. But free speech is better than restricted speech.”

“Get over it, people—money is money and will always find its way into the process. Let’s stop kidding ourselves and get on with some serious business.”

“The Founders were not afraid of debate. Read [James] Madison’s Federalist No. 10, and send the speech police home.”

“It’s called the First Amendment. Everyone is entitled to spend money to say what they want.”


“As a tool, they will have more of an impact on the negative side, while being immune from any realistic accountability. That can’t be good.”

“The money should be linked to the candidate. It is yet another reason to eliminate campaign limits and allow free speech.”

“When there is no accountability, there can be no positive outcome.”

“The whole PAC system is a negative, and super PACS are even worse because they allow trashing of candidates without any candidate responsibility. Romney’s allies going after Gingrich in Iowa is a good example.”

“No accountability, no control, no sunshine. Thanks, McCain-Feingold.”


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, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, 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, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, 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, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, 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, Brian Baker, 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, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, 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, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, 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, Kevin O’Neill, Connie Partoyan, 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, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, 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, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

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