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Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama? Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama?

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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama?

Other than the economy and jobs, which issue will be the most important in the 2012 election cycle?

Democrats (113 votes)

Deficit and taxes: 68%
Education: 1%
Energy/environment: 3%
Health care: 14%
Immigration: 3%
National security/foreign policy: 4%
Other: 8%


Deficit and taxes

“The congressional debate is so dominated by deficit and taxes that this debate will have a major influence in every campaign for federal office.”

“The deficit and the unavoidable need to increase governmental revenues to reduce it will be front and center out of necessity.”


“Independent voters see the economy and fiscal responsibility as totally interconnected.”

“Obama should find a way to embrace Simpson-Bowles and take the middle ground away from the Republicans.”

“Not sure which side wins this debate, but Democrats are in their best position in a long time (forever) to compete on it.”

Health care


“Health care is a weakness for Obama and will certainly be used against him by the Republican presidential candidate.”

“The Supreme Court will be deciding the issue by June, right in the middle of the campaign.”

National security/foreign policy

“There’s too much smoke—Iran, Pakistan, the Middle East, even the [European Union]—for there not to be fire in the next 11 months. It’s a much more fundamental test of presidential leadership than a tiresome debate about taxes and the budget.”

“Given the volatility of today’s world, it could be Obama’s strength or greatest vulnerability.”


“American exceptionalism. The very concept of what makes America special—that goes to the core of the American Dream—is being challenged as the result of globalization, economic inequality, and political paralysis. This will be the issue into which the economy, jobs, etc. are wrapped.”

“Trust. Voters are cynical of institutions and politicians and will reward candidates they trust, but disagree with, over those they agree with on policy but do not trust.”


Other than the economy and jobs, which issue will be the most important in the 2012 election cycle?

Republicans (105 votes)

Deficit and taxes: 78%
Education: 0%
Energy/environment:  3%
Health care: 8%
Immigration: 3%
National security/foreign policy: 3%
Other: 6%

Deficit and taxes

“The ‘red-ink issue’ will loom large in 2012, given our credit rating problems and the eurozone crisis, and the impact of both on voters’ anxiety.”

“Each party thinks it has a decisive political advantage on deficit and taxes. This guarantees it will play prominently in the election.”

“We as a country need realism on the deficit, which includes very significant budget cuts but also a willingness to consider tax increases and the willingness not to procrastinate until the next election.”


“Obama’s punting on [the Keystone oil pipeline] will become a major issue. It runs against his argument that he’s focused on job creation, and it runs contrary to his notion that Congress is standing in the way of job creation. It’s about energy—but it’s really about jobs.”

Health care

“The president’s health care law is the great substantive uniter of the Republican majority coalition.”


“[Mitt] Romney is playing with Electoral College fire by using immigration to take down Newt [Gingrich]. Hard to find a winning map that does not include Nevada or Colorado.”

National security/foreign policy

“Iran and the Middle East are going to be the crises that drive more attention than we care to think about right now.”


“Anti-Washington populism. Get Washington’s hands off the economy’s throat so we can create jobs and growth.”

“Fairness. Voters want to believe that what is done is fair, and this applies to each and every issue highlighted.”


Who has a better chance of beating President Obama in 2012—Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?

Democrats (110 votes)

Newt Gingrich: 14%
Mitt Romney: 86%


“He can keep the ‘red-meat’ rhetoric going for the base while also showing competence and success from the Clinton-Gingrich years.”

This article appears in the December 3, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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